published Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Bodies of 2 kids found in luggage in Florida canal

  • photo
    A diver, second right, from the Delray Beach Police Department boards a police boat on the C-15 canal, looking for evidence after two children were discovered dead in the canal, dead in the canal, their bodies stuffed into luggage in Delray Beach, Fla., March 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Jon Way)

MATT SEDENSKY, Associated Press

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Police in South Florida are trying to unravel the mystery of two young children found dead in a canal, their bodies stuffed into luggage.

The bodies found Wednesday don't match the description of any children known to be missing, and police implored the public for help identifying them.

"Someone is missing these kids," said Delray Beach Police spokeswoman Nicole Guerriero. "There's a teacher. There's a grandmother. There's an aunt and uncle, a friend, someone has not seen these kids."

Divers from three agencies used sonar and a remote-controlled submarine to scour the canal for clues Thursday.

"They are trying to see if there is anything that is going to help us move further on this," Guerriero said.

The body of a little girl believed to be between 6 and 10 was found in a duffel bag Wednesday morning. Hours later, and a half-mile away, a boy who appeared to be 10 to 12 was found inside a suitcase. Delray Beach detectives presume they are linked, but have no definitive evidence.

The wide canal flows east to west through this oceanside town southeast of West Palm Beach, stretching between U.S. 441 and the Intracoastal Waterway and passing beneath Florida's Turnpike and Interstate 95.

"Where they were found, these kids could have been from anywhere," Guerriero said.

An autopsy will help determine how long the children were in the water.

The canal is bordered by modest homes, tiny wooden docks and small motor boats, and dotted on either side with the lush green of palms and other trees.

Debbie Duarte, who lives along the canal, said the neighborhood is usually very quiet. Before now, she said, the most surprising thing to turn up in the waterway was a bag of marijuana.

"For parents not to say their children are missing," she said, "either the parents are dead or the parents did it."

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