MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa – A 13-year-old central Iowa boy who left home in the middle of a snowstorm has been found dead, bringing the dayslong search — made difficult by frigid temperatures and blustery winds — to an end.
Marshalltown Police Chief Michael Tupper said in a news release that Corey Brown’s body was found around 10:45 a.m. Sunday in a secluded area on the west side of Marshalltown, though an exact location was not immediately disclosed.
The circumstances surrounding the discovery of Brown’s body were unclear. Tupper said there was no evidence to suggest that there was any criminal activity in the teenager’s death.
“This is still an active investigation, and all possible scenarios will be thoroughly investigated,” Tupper said.
Brown was last seen around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday near the Jackie Terrace neighborhood walking south. Surveillance video captured footage of the teenager leaving the house hours after he apparently had an argument with his parents, the police chief said.
His disappearance sparked numerous search efforts that had, until Sunday, turned out to be fruitless. Authorities had asked property owners in Marshalltown to thoroughly check their homes, buildings, garages and vehicles to see if the boy was hiding in them.
A community ravaged by an EF-3 tornado in July 2018 came together once again to assist in finding Brown, an eighth-grade student at Miller Middle School. Residents tied green ribbons around trees and put out green bulbs on their porch lights to show support for Brown.
About 200 people showed up Wednesday for a search party at St. Henry Catholic Church, the Marshalltown Times-Republican reported.
“It says a lot about how community-oriented Marshalltown really is,” Marshalltown resident Kara Wilson said.
First responders met up at a nearby church to continue search efforts, and there were searchers on snowmobiles checking through open field-type areas.
Police then shifted their efforts to social media, where thousands of people shared Brown’s photo and description. Authorities asked volunteers to avoid the Jackie Terrace neighborhood because the high traffic volume and congestion impeded police operations.
Tupper said the Marshalltown Police Department received a few reports of possible sightings of the 13-year-old, but those turned out to be inaccurate.
Brown’s parents made an emotional plea Thursday for their son to return home, saying, “Corey, if you’re out there, bud, you’re not in trouble; just come home.”
Marshall County Crime Stoppers and Lennox Employees Credit Union offered a $1,000 reward for information related to Brown’s disappearance. It wasn’t clear what will happen to that reward money.
The Marshalltown Community School District said in a statement Sunday afternoon that it is “saddened to learn of the death of one of our students.”
“Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to the Brown family and those close to Corey,” a spokesperson for the school district said. “He was loved by many and will be deeply missed.”
Counselors will be on hand at Miller Middle School and Marshalltown High School to assist those in need.
Numerous agencies across central Iowa assisted in the investigation.