Missing Gary boy found dead

December 16, 2009 (GARY, Ind.) The body of Michael Maxey Jr., 12, was found near his family's home at 12:50 a.m. Wednesday.

The Lake County Coroner's Office says that Michael died from a gunshot wound and that an autopsy will be conducted Wednesday.

When Michael went missing, his parents warned that he may have taken a gun from his home with him.

Michael was last seen around 4:30 p.m. Monday. Police used dogs to search for the boy Tuesday.

Michael's body was found in a field near his home. Police say a gun was found at the scene. Police say they don't believe there is any public safety risk.

"It is going to be investigated as an apparent suicide," said Dawn Westerfield, Gary Police Department. "But we are not going to close any doors of the investigation. We will investigate all aspects."

Michael was a sixth-grade student at Hammond Baptist School in Schererville.

"We've been praying for the family and some of the administration and teachers have been trying to help the family, passing out flyers and searching for him. This is not the outcome we were hoping and praying for," said James Woosley, Hammond Baptist School.

Some of Maxey's classmates helped with the search.

Maxey performed with classmates in the school's holiday concert last week.

The school's assistant superintendent says the students were told about Maxey's death on Wednesday morning.

"The students worked quite diligently throughout most of the morning making signs for the family and decorating his locker. That seemed to help a little bit," said Woosley.

Gary police say Michael's mother called them Monday night.

"He was home with his sister, and he ran out of the home. We knew he had a backpack, possibly a weapon and a change jar," said Westerfield.

Police say they searched all day Tuesday but it was not until Tuesday night when neighbors heard of the news that the boy was missing; they called police to report that he was seen in a field.

"The investigators are not going to close the doors to any possibilities until we get positive confirmation," Westerfield said.

The county coroner expects to conduct an autopsy Thursday. Then police say they can tell whether or not he has gun residue on his hands, which would determine whether he pulled the trigger.

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