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Family found dead, child missing, near vehicle in Australian outback

Updated 7:00 AM ET, Thu November 8, 2018

(CNN) - A young family of three has been found dead next to a broken-down vehicle in a remote part of Australia's Northern Territory, according to police, who said a 12-year-old boy was still missing.

In a statement Thursday, Northern Territory Police said a 19-year-old man and woman had been found, along with a three-year-old boy, next to the vehicle 350 kilometers (217 miles) northwest of Alice Springs in the Willowra district.

"(Police) identified that it wasn't a fatal motor vehicle accident as reported ... This is a tragic situation from a police perspective," Superintendent Jody Nobbs told a news conference Thursday.

Nobbs said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths.

An air and land search was conducted Thursday to look for a 12-year-old boy who Nobbs said was believed to have been in the car with the family.

On Thursday afternoon, police said a child's body had been discovered 120 meters (400 feet) from the family but wouldn't confirm whether it was the missing child.

According to police, family members have been told about the child's disappearance but have not authorized the release of his name.

Nobbs said police still couldn't rule out the possibility that there had been other passengers in the car when it broke down.

"We will continue a precautionary land and air search until we are satisfied that all areas of interest have been sufficiently canvassed," he said in a statement Thursday.

"This does serve unfortunately as a timely reminder for anybody traveling on the Northern Territory roads to ensure that, when you do travel, your vehicle is in a fit state to travel."


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