Sunday, May 13, 2001

Burned body of child found in park

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The family of a missing Silverton boy said they hope the body of a child found Saturday morning isn't his.

        The body, burned beyond recognition, was found in Daniel Drake Park in Kennedy Heights. A park user discovered the body at 8:45 a.m. under a shelter toward the rear of the 66-acre park on old Red Bank Road, said Sgt. John D. Newsom of Cincinnati police.

        Police estimated the victim was 7 or 8 years of age.

        Police from nearby Silverton confirmed that they were trying to determine whether the body was that of Diarro Lavon Hayes, 9, who was reported missing at 8 p.m. Friday.

        “I'm just praying it's not him,” said Diarro's grandmother, Renee Hayes, 42, of South Fairmount.

        Diarro's home is in the 4100 block of St. James Avenue. The unidentified body was found about 2 miles away.

        “At this time, no definitive connection has been made between the missing juvenile and the body found in Drake Park,” Silverton police said in a statement.

        The Hamilton County coroner will perform an autopsy today.

        Diarro is black and about 5 feet tall. He was wearing a light blue T-shirt with “Big Brother” printed on the front, black pants and gray gym shoes.

        A third-grader at Silverton Paideia School, he has two sisters, 11 years and 5 months old.

        Diarro's mother, Demarlo Hayes, said he left their home about 7:30 p.m. Friday to walk to a friend's house four doors away. Shortly after, she called the friend and discovered Diarro wasn't there. He hasn't been seen since.

        Ms. Hayes sobbed as she said, “He told me he loved me as he walked out the door.”

        Investigators are asking anyone who was in the park on Friday night or early Saturday and saw suspicious activity to call CrimeStoppers at 352-3040 or Cincinnati police at 352-3542.


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