Remains of small child found in West Phoenix are 'infant-like'

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

The remains of a small child were discovered Tuesday afternoon in west Phoenix, police said.

The child's remains, described by Sgt. Vince Lewis of the Phoenix Police Department on Wednesday as "infant-like," were found around 1:20 p.m. at 4200 87th Avenue near Indian School Road, buried at a construction site.

Construction workers found the remains and called the police.

Police said it appears the remains had been there "for some time."

[SLIDESHOW: Recovery operation]

Investigators spent many hours on Tuesday night digging and photographing the scene. They have been treating the area as a crime scene.

Police are still trying to determine the exact age of the child, when he or she died and the cause of death.

Police are hoping forensics can answer all of these questions in the coming days.

Those who live in the area say the land was once owned by the neighboring Southwest Church of Christ, and once held a soccer field, but it had not been used in years.

Recently, a developer bought the site to build homes.

The police activity at the scene Tuesday night attracted people who live nearby.

One of those neighbors said a certain name came to mind when she heard about the discovery.

"About the little boy Jesse from Buckeye," said Joyce Holdren. "I don't know why. It's just strange. That's the first thing that popped into my head and then one of these other ladies said something about it, too."

Jesse Wilson, 10, has been missing from his Buckeye home since July. Crystal Wilson, his mother, called the Buckeye Police Department's non-emergency line to report the boy missing. She said she believed he left home on his own as he had done in the past. Despite an exhaustive search, including FBI assistance, the boy has not been found.

[Special Section: Jesse Wilson | 10-year-old Buckeye boy missing since July]

Another high-profile missing child case in the Valley is that of 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley in 2011. Her mother, Jerice Hunter, is in prison for murdering Jhessye. Police never found the little girl's body.

It's not known if the remains are those of either child but given Lewis' description of them as "infant-like," it's highly unlikely. However, this discovery does bring those two names to mind.

The Jhessye Shockley case was handled by the Glendale Police Department.

"We have been in contact with Phoenix P.D.," Sgt Scott Waite with the Glendale Police Department said in an email. "At this time we do not believe it is tied to any Glendale cases but we will assist in any way."

Jesse and Jhessye are just two among more than 130 Arizona children who vanished, seemingly without a trace, never to be seen again. Only a few of those cases made headlines.

[SLIDESHOW: Some of Arizona's missing children]

Police said they expect to know more about the remains -- the age of the child and how long the remains have been at that location -- but it could take a long time for the forensics work to be completed.

Neighbors said the tall fence around the property has been there for decades. They think whoever may have discarded a body in that field either had to jump the fence or the body has been there since before the fence was built.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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