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Body identified as that of missing boy
Discovery in Washington confirms fears of Lancaster father who had joined search

A child's body found Thursday on an island beach in Puget Sound is that of an 8-year-old boy who vanished last weekend with his mother, a Pierce County sheriff's spokesman said.

Positive identification was based on Azriel Carver's clothing, mohawk haircut and "looking at pictures of him," spokesman Ed Troyer said.

The Pierce County medical examiner's office plans an autopsy today to determine cause of death.

The body was found on Fox Island, southwest of Tacoma.

No sign was found Thursday of the boy's mother, Shantina "Kat" Smiley, 29, of Silverdale, who disappeared with him on Saturday night. Troyer said the beach was searched about 500 yards in each direction from the boy's body. Divers on a boat searched as well and a Coast Guard helicopter and sheriff's office plane flew overhead.

That search may resume today, depending on weather, he said.

Smiley's abandoned minivan, partially submerged with its doors open, was found Sunday on a remote Olympia-area beach about 12 miles south of Fox Island.

A wallet containing her driver's license, some cash and credit cards was found in the van, but neither she nor her son was anywhere in sight.

Jed Carver, Azriel's father who flew here from Lancaster, N.Y., this week, went to the beach where the boy was found. Troyer said the father was not involved in identifying the body.

"You really don't know what you have in your life until they're gone," Carver told KING-TV. "It's a sad turn of events."

Two mismatched shoes, a partially full and corked wine bottle, an inhaler and an orange ball have washed ashore since the van was found.

Thurston County sheriff's Lt. Chris Mealy said the items apparently belonged to the boy or his mother.

Smiley was heading from her home in Silverdale to her stepfather's house in southwest Washington when she and her son disappeared Saturday night. Silverdale is about 16 miles west of Seattle, across Puget Sound.

Besides searching the area, investigators looked at phone records and talked to people who know Smiley and her son or may have met her Saturday night as she drove through the back roads of Washington state. Her fiance, Robb Simmons, told authorities she was a recovering alcoholic who had relapsed last week.

"We are grieving the loss of Azriel, and praying for Shantina. We are all severely hurting. We are getting the family together so we can grieve together, and so we can have some sort of peace right now," Simmons told the television station late Thursday.

Mealy said there was no indication that a crime took place inside Smiley's 2005 Dodge Caravan.

Smiley called Simmons on Saturday evening during a roadside stop. Her van was found about 50 miles north of her stepfather's home.

Jed Carver was expected to meet up with Simmons in Washington State to aid in this week's search. Carver had recently re-established relations with Azriel and Smiley, his former girlfriend, from whom he had been estranged for about six years, his family said.

Carver family members had prayed for "a positive return" to Western New York.

A woman who answered Simmons' cell phone Thursday afternoon said he was not available. Phone calls and e-mails to several of Smiley's relatives were not immediately returned.

Carver was not available for comment.

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