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Boy found dead near Las Vegas remains unidentified after mix-up

The mother of an 8-year-old boy who was with his father at the time signed an affidavit stating the deceased was her child.

Authorities Saturday night continued to investigate the death of an unidentified boy whose body was found on a hiking trail near Las Vegas after a mix-up led them to believe he was a local 8-year-old with a missing brother and father.

The boy's body was discovered by hikers Friday morning, and

Police distributed an artist's sketch of the boy after his body was discovered by hikers Friday morning, and a woman stepped forward and claimed he was her son. Authorities then began searching for his 11-year-old half-brother and his father.

But the two boys and their father were all found safe in Utah, authorities said.

Lt. Ray Spencer of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said detectives and a coroner's official met with the mother of the 8-year-old early, showed her photographs of the deceased boy and had her sign an affidavit that he was her son.

The woman said her son was supposed to be with his father and his half-brother, and the mix up was compounded when the 11-year-old's mother also identified a sketch of the deceased boy as the 8-year-old, Spencer said.

But after authorities launched a search for the older boy and his father in Nevada, California and Utah, the three turned up safe, he said. The father had been difficult to reach because he was in an area of central Utah with poor cellphone service, Spencer said.

Las Vegas detectives were back to square one Saturday night and were working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to create a new, digitized image of the unidentified boy, Spencer said.

"We’re still in the same position I was yesterday," Spencer said.

The boy, described as an 8- to 10-year-old Latino, was found about 7:45 a.m. Friday on the Mountain Springs Trailhead, about 30 miles from Las Vegas, police said.

"We’re very happy that the mother was able to get the news that her 8-year-old child was found alive," Spencer said.

Detectives continued to work "around the clock" to get to the bottom of the unidentified boy's death, he said.