found dead inside vehicle near Denton home
2-year-old boy who went missing Tuesday afternoon was found dead the next
morning inside a vehicle not far from his family’s apartment, Denton police
said. By Wednesday evening, several dozen people came to a vigil to mourn
Sarbesh Gurung, in the parking lot where his body was found.
resident got into their vehicle to head out and found the boy’s body just
after 6 a.m. Wednesday, Police Chief Frank Dixon said.
17 hours of searching across a roughly 5-mile radius of apartment complexes
and parked vehicles near the University of North Texas campus, the
2-year-old was found inside a parked SUV just yards away from where police
set up a command center to conduct the search.
Dixon said Sarbesh’s
mother had a panic attack when authorities told her that her son was found
dead. She was driven to a hospital.
Dixon would not say where the
vehicle was located, but he said it was in “pretty close proximity” to the
family’s apartment. News reports indicated the vehicle was parked two
buildings away from the family’s apartment.
Dixon said Wednesday
morning the vehicle’s owner is not suspected of having anything to do with
the child’s death. Dixon said there were no immediate signs of trauma to the
boy’s body, and the family that owns the vehicle would be interviewed by
Martha Holt and her husband are neighbors with
Sarbesh’s family in an apartment building in the 2400 block of West Prairie
“I’d see him outside and talk to the mom,” Holt said. “The
little boy was always really friendly.”
Holt helped with the search
along with hundreds of other people, looking in cars, bushes and on porches.
“There [were] so many people looking for him,” she said. “Why didn’t we
Sarbesh was reported missing at about 2 p.m. Tuesday. From
there, hundreds of people went looking for the boy. Police officers,
firefighters and residents were searching for him into the night Tuesday.
Around 40 people came to a vigil Wednesday evening, held in the parking
lot where he was found in the 2400 block of West Prairie Street, to remember
Sarbesh. A picture of him was propped up on a chair while mourners placed
lit candles around it.
“I’d like to thank each and every one of you
on behalf of the family,” Giriraj Bhetwal, a friend of the family, said at
the beginning of the vigil. “This is not the outcome we hoped for. Dad and
Mom are still in shock — they could not make it here.”
handed out candles that they lit, then lined up to place them at the base of
the chair that held a photo of Sarbesh. People huddled around the chair to
block the candles from the wind.
“It is really tough and the mom
broke down, but the dad, I think it’s hitting him slowly,” Bhetwal said.
“Until the morning he was calm and collected, but now he is realizing that
‘OK, this is it.’”
Bhetwal said he saw a change in Sanjay, Sarbesh’s
father, when they started calling funeral homes.
“I was shocked,”
Bhetwal said about his reaction to the news of what happened to Sarbesh. “I
was here until 1 a.m. last night, and this morning whenever I heard that, I
was shocked. I could not believe [it].”
During his remarks at the
beginning of the vigil, Bhetwal said a memorial for Sarbesh will happen
Saturday or Monday, depending on when the family gets his body from the
Holt said she talked to Sarbesh’s mother, who was
walking around her apartment’s courtyard Wednesday morning.
basically talked to me about she’d been up and she couldn’t believe he was
gone,” Holt said. “We both talked about thinking someone abducted him.
“He was so close. He was right there. I don’t know how long he’d been in
that car. I don’t know if it was from yesterday. I know we were looking in
cars, the police were looking in cars.”
Dixon said he could not say
definitively if the vehicle Sarbesh was found it was searched during
Tuesday’s multiple searches.
“Can we conclusively say that someone
went and checked every door handle of every vehicle out there?” Dixon said.
“Obviously, we can’t say that.”
Sarbesh’s mother told Holt on
Wednesday that he loved getting in cars.
“You just think, ‘Why didn’t
I look there?’” Holt said. “It was right there. And you know it was a white
SUV just like the one they have. When I saw that this morning I thought,
‘Oh, he might have thought that was his car.’”
She said the family
had just gotten their white SUV.
“I remember about a month or so ago
we parked next to it and they got out and I said, ‘Oh, that’s a beautiful
car,’” Holt said. “She said thank you and they were really proud of it.”
Martha Holt and her husband, Robert, said they have lost track of their
“Everybody that’s a parent, at one time or another, they
have lost track of their child,” Robert Holt said. “And it’s terrifying.”
He said he and his wife have grandchildren around Sarbesh’s age.
“You turn your back on them and they’re gone,” he said. “I don’t understand
how they can do it.”
Rodney Taylor, who lives at the nearby Crossing
Apartments for two years, said he helped with the search for Sarbesh, whom
he had seen a couple times playing.
“It’s kind of crazy how we were
all looking around, looking through windows of the cars and looking through
alleys and things, and ... that he was so close,” he said.
have been anyone’s kid,” Taylor said.
Carlos Valdez, who also lives
at the Crossing Apartments, called the situation “horrifying” and “tragic.”
“I felt really sorry for the family,” he said. “Nothing you say really
can alleviate that pain, but I hope they get better.”
said Sarbesh’s mother spoke about her son’s joyful personality.
morning she was just talking about him and how sweet he was and his
personality,” Holt said Wednesday. “Just talking about how he was so
friendly and happy and laughed all the time and that’s exactly like he was.
And then she says, ‘I just can’t believe he’s not here. I just keep thinking
I [will] see him.’”