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Remains found in Poweshiek County identified as Xavior Harrelson

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 7:18 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2021 at 7:51 PM CDT
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MONTEZUMA, Iowa (KCRG) - Officials confirmed the human remains found in rural Poweshiek County late last month are those of Xavior Harrelson, the 10-year-old boy who disappeared from Montezuma on May 27.

The remains were discovered in a rural area about three miles from Montezuma on September 30th. On Friday, the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Iowa State Medical Examiner that the remains were identified as the missing 10-year-old.

The cause of death has not been released at this time.

On September 30th, the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office received a report from a farmer of human remains discovered in a field south of the intersection of Ewart Road at 110th Street. Investigators confirmed that the remains appeared the be those of a juvenile and clothing found at the scene was similar to what Xavior Harrelson was reportedly wearing when he disappeared on May 27, just days before his 11th birthday.

“It moves us into another stage of the investigation so in that sense we are moving forward,” said Poweshiek County Sheriff Thomas Kriegel at the time.

Investigators said the field was not an area that had been previously searched in the months since Xavior’s disappearance.

Mitch Mortvedt with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said the body had been in the location for a “significant” amount of time and an investigation could take several weeks to confirm the identity of the body and cause of death.

A family friend reported Harrelson on May 27th. He was last seen riding his bike near the home in Montezuma where he lives with his mother just days before his 11th birthday. Investigators kept in regular contact with Harrelson’s mother who said she had no idea where Harrelson might have gone. Friends said Harrelson acted as a caretaker for his mother, Sarah, and described him as kind and caring with her.

“He would often say how he needs to be with mom and help out home and all those things,” Marie Bolten, one of the teachers, said days after his disappearance.

His mother pleaded for her son’s safe return in August while helping to pass out fliers.

“We love you,” she said. “We are not going to stop looking for you.”

Hundreds of people helped search areas around Montezuma in the days after Harrelson was reported missing. Community fundraisers, including a concert, collected donations for a reward fund topping $34,000 for information leading to Harrelson. His disappearance even became part of defense theories in an appeal of Cristhian Bahena Rivera’s conviction in the murder of Mollie Tibbetts.

Check back for updates.

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