Missing Tampa Toddler Found Dead in Weston Canal: BSO

18-month-old Vihaan Pullamsetti disappeared while visiting relatives and was found dead less than 24 hours later, authorities said.

A Tampa toddler reported missing from a relative's home in Weston has been found dead in a canal, according to Broward Sheriff's Office deputies.

BSO Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed the tragic development in a press conference just before 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Deputies said a resident of the Racquet Club Apartments spotted a body in floating in a canal behind the complex around 8:30 a.m. BSO dive teams pulled the body from the water and later confirmed it was that of the missing toddler.

18-month-old Vihaan Pullamsetti disappeared while visiting relatives at the Racquet Club Apartment complex, located near Lakeview Drive and Blatt Boulevard in Weston. The boy's family said they first noticed he was missing on Sunday around 3:45 p.m., his usual nap time.

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The family was preparing to drive back to Tampa after visiting relatives for Halloween festivities that weekend, NBC 6 has learned.

"Just in five minutes, just change their diaper and we were packing stuff in the car, that's it," said Gayadhri Sriram, who was letting the family stay at his house. "We were thinking all doors are closed, he was inside somewhere, we thought, but he was not there."

According to Broward Sheriff's Deputies, Vihaan's family and others tried to find him for about 20 minutes before dialing 911.

Thousands of residents volunteered in the search efforts, canvassing the streets of the neighborhood with flashlights Sunday night and into Monday morning. Cars were seen parked for several blocks as the community joined the search efforts. [[339402212, C]]

Vihaan's tearful mother, Kamala Gavara, told NBC 6 that just this week, her son was learning how to open and close doors on his own. The family believes that the toddler may have opened a door of the first-floor apartment and wandered out on his own. 

A family spokesman for the Pullamsetti family thanked the media and the community for their efforts in assisting in the search for Vihaan. It's not yet clear how the boy died.

Stay with NBC 6 for updates on this developing story.

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