Police say they believe they've recovered the body of 2-year-old Maliyah Bass from a Houston bayou a day after her family reported her missing.
On Sunday morning at about 10:30 a.m., a jogger spotted a body floating near Brays Bayou.
Officers and water rescue teams arrived on the scene and pulled the body from the water. At 11:19 a.m., the child was pronounced dead at the scene.
Maliyah, known to relatives as "Tootie," was reported missing on Saturday morning, according to police.
Houston authorities say the body was found 25 miles from where Maliyah vanished.
At this point, investigators say they believe foul play was involved in Maliyah's disappearance.
The girl was playing at her apartment complex's playground when she went missing.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said a positive identification of the remains is still pending but that the body found Sunday is "most likely" Maliyah's.
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"We believe that, although we can't confirm it's her, we believe there's a high probability of it being her," Acevedo told reporters. "We don't want to give people false hope. We want to hold on to a little hope, but we want to prepare for the worst."
The investigation is being handled as a murder case.
"We really believe this is foul play," Acevedo added.
With no leads to go on, detectives are seeking the public's help.
"If you have seen any suspicious vehicles, if you've seen any suspicious persons, in the past 24 hours plus, from 9:30 a.m. or even before 9:30 a.m., just call us right away," Acevedo said.
Maliyah's mother's boyfriend spoke to KHOU, saying, "She knows her ABCs. She knows her 123s. She knew how to talk because of me and her mother. She was smart … she was growing up to be something."
Anyone with any information on Maliyah's disappearance is urged to contact authorities by calling (713) 222-TIPS (8477).
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