When 2-year-old Nain Dominguez was reported missing Saturday evening from the Stratmoor Hill Trailhead Park in El Paso County there was reason to believe that someone in a white panel van had kidnapped him.
But those fears were discounted even before the toddler was discovered in grave condition near the park. Nain was found at 7:18 a.m. Sunday morning, taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reports a nearby resident said the boy’s shoes were found in Fountain Creek, a possible indication of an accident. The boy had last been seen with an older sibling.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has not said where Nain was found.
An Amber Alert was issued at 9:19 p.m., more than three hours after Nain was reported missing at 5:41 p.m. The alert indicated that someone in a white van with no rear windows had possibly taken the child. People across the Colorado Springs metro area tweeted and called in reports of seeing a van matching that description.
But a tweet just after midnight Sunday morning by the Colorado Department of Public Safety indicated that authorities no longer believed someone had abducted the boy even though he hadn’t been found.
Nain Dominguez was discovered about seven hours later and the Amber Alert was deactivated just before 8 a.m., said Susan Medina, spokeswoman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
It’s unclear what prompted authorities to make that announcement, but the Colorado Department of Public Safety tweeted it no longer believed “the van and suspect information previously
provided are related to Nain’s disappearance.”
“Obviously there are a lot of questions about the van,” Medina said. “Amber Alerts are very fluid. We release information based on what we have at the time.”
Vicki Russell, 68, who lives near the park, which has a soccer field, basketball courts, a children’s playground and a covered picnic area, was busy Saturday night.
Suddenly, shortly after dark, emergency vehicles filled the street, which remained blocked off Sunday while about 300 fire and police personnel and volunteers walked in lines searching for the boy.
“I was hoping that he would come back OK, but he didn’t,” Russell said. “It was really sad.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family that seeks $20,000 to help cover funeral expenses.
“Nain Dominguez was only 2 years old when God called him home on March 18, 2018 early morning. This was an unfortunate and very devastating accident for little Nain’s entire family,” a family statement on GoFundMe says.
“Everyone who knew Nain knew he was a very happy boy who loved to dance and would always have a bright smile on his face, Nain had a smile and personality that would put the saddest person in a great mood. Nain filled his family with joy and knowing he wouldn’t be returning home with his family is the worst feeling in the world,” the GoFundMe account says.