Police: 5-year-old Jerold Williams died of exposure after leaving Arizona campsite

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Lost 5-Year-Old Likely Didn't Survive First Night

A 5-year-old Arizona boy who went missing as he chased grasshoppers during a family camping trip died of exposure and was unlikely to have made it through the first night, authorities said.

See photos of Jerold released by the sheriff's office:

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Missing five-year-old Jerold Joseph Williams
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Police: 5-year-old Jerold Williams died of exposure after leaving Arizona campsite
Jerold Joseph Williams in an undated handout photo released by the Coconino Country Sheriff's Office. (Photo via Coconino County Sheriff's Office)
A missing persons flier for Jerold Joseph Williams released by the Coconino Country Sheriff's Office. (Photo via Coconino County Sheriff's Office)
A missing persons flier for Jerold Joseph Williams released by the Coconino Country Sheriff's Office. (Photo via Coconino County Sheriff's Office)
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On Aug. 6, Jerold Williams wandered from his mother's sight into a long, cold, wet night, ending up a little over three and a half miles away, police said.

"The weather had turned inclement early during the time he was missing. An autopsy was performed today and Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office preliminary findings appear to be accidental death due to environmental exposure," reads a press release from Coconino County Sheriff's Office.

"Based on the environmental conditions Jerold was exposed to it is unlikely he survived the first night."

From the moment Jerold went missing a massive search effort launched with hundreds of volunteers flooding a 21 square mile grid around the Jacob Lake area of Arizona.

The tot's body was found by a group of volunteers from his hometown, Colorado City, on Monday. The group was traveling down Forest Service Road 240 when someone spotted his body about 15-20 feet off the road.

"Because Jerold was found close to the road and the road would have been a natural walking area for him compared to the very thick brush, it is believed that Jerold probably found his way to Forest Road 240 and followed it to Forest Road 241 in the direction away from the camp site and may have walked off into the forest to lay down to rest," police explained.

"He was found fully clothed with no obvious external injuries, and there is was no evidence of foul play indicated at the scene."

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