La. Toddler Dies from Animal Attack After Wandering Away from Home: 'Tragic Event'

The Claiborne Parish Sheriff's Office reportedly did not indicate what type of animal could have killed the child

A toddler was killed in a suspected animal attack after wandering away from his home in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, on Monday morning, according to local news outlet KTBS-3.

According to the new station, Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that Da'Angelo Manning, 17 months old, was found dead about a half mile from his residence on Winkler Road near the town of Haynesville.

The baby boy and a four-year-old were reported missing earlier Monday morning around 10 a.m. local time after they strayed from the property.

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Arriving within 15 minutes of the missing person's report, police found the four-year-old at approximately 10:30 a.m. They were released into the custody of a guardian after being treated for minor scratches by Pafford EMS first responders, per KTBS-3.

It is unclear what the four-year-old and Manning's relationship is.

Related: A Tennessee Toddler Is Missing and May Be with His Mother's Ex: Authorities

Manning’s body was found around noon in an area north of Kendrick Springs Road “where timber had recently been harvested,” per The Independent.

The publication also reported that police said Manning's cause of death was the “result of an animal attack.”

The type of animal was not disclosed in the news release as the investigation is currently ongoing, according to KTBS-3 and The Independent. Local news outlet KSLA-12 reported that the Claiborne Parish coroner sent Manning’s body to be autopsied.

Per KSLA-12, Claiborne Parish Sheriff Sam Dowies issued the following statement in the news release: “Sheriff Dowies wanted to publicly thank the Louisiana State Police, David Wade Correctional Center, Claiborne Parish volunteer firemen, Pafford Ambulance Service and the other concerned citizens who all quickly responded to assist with this tragic event.”

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Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Evelyn Ayala, whose cousin is the mother of Manning, created a GoFundMe page to help cover expenses for the toddler’s funeral.

Noting that “my family is going through a difficult time at the moment,” Ayala explained on the page that “Da’Angelo Zacc Manning “Snoopy” (only one year and seven months old) son of my cousin Angelica Márquez had a fatal accident in which he lost his life.”

The GoFundMe page has raised over $2,000 of its $10,000 goal as of Wednesday night.

Related: 11-Month-Old Baby Girl and Dog Die in Virginia After Being Left in Hot Car for 6 Hours

On Tuesday, Márquez shared several photos and videos of her son on Facebook in a heartbreaking tribute to her baby boy.

“I found out I was pregnant [with] you on my birthday. It was a big surprise for me, but I was so happy to have you,” Márquez wrote. “Your brothers loved you so much still do. You were my baby. You were always smiling, you [would] bring a smile out of people, you were amazing. Trust me you were my snoopy, my best friend.”

She continued, “I remember the day me and your daddy chose your name while you were in my belly. I remember you help me get through so much [of] the hard times. You do not know how sorry I am that I wasn't there. You do not know how hard it is. I’m trying to keep calm for your brothers.”

“I hate so much… that I didn't hold you one last time kissed you and said I love you because I love you son. I’m so hurt and so mad," she concluded her message. "I just don't know how to get through this baby. I’m so sorry."

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