Port Huron boy found dead in vehicle

A 5-year-old boy with Down Syndrome was found dead inside a neighbor’s car about seven hours after he was reported missing.

The pastor of Derrick Holmon’s family, Vincent Matthews, was at the scene in the 2500 block of Manuel Street consoling the family.

Matthews, pastor of All Nation’s Church of God in Christ in Port Huron, confirmed the boy was dead but said few other details had been released.

“I want to thank everybody for looking for my baby, he’s in a better place,” Jennifer Miller, Derrick's mother, told people at the scene.

Port Huron Police Capt. Jeff Baker said investigators believe the death was an accident, that the boy climbed into the vehicle and succumbed to the heat.

Baker said nearly every law enforcement agency in the area was involved in the search for the boy.

“It’s heartbreaking for it to end this way,” Baker said.

Don McCullough, Derrick’s grandfather, said shortly after the discovery the family knew little.

“This could be a terrible accident, and that’s what they’re explaining to us,” he said.

Derrick, known to his family as Little D, was reported missing from his home in the 2500 block of Manuel Street about 11 a.m. Friday. His parents reported last seeing him about 8:30 a.m. Port Huron Police Sgt. Dave Seghi said the parents saw Derrick playing — when they woke again, they could not find him.

About 60 law enforcement officials from several departments responded to the search, including a Michigan State Police helicopter and three police dogs.

Members of the Port Huron Police Department, Marysville Police Department, Michigan State Police, St. Clair County Sheriff Department, Port Huron Fire Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol were involved in the search.

An Amber Alert also was issued.

Contact Liz Shepard at (810) 989-6273 or lshepard@gannett.com