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Mom charged with murder of her 6-year-old with Autism

T.J. Caudill's mother, 25-year-old Margarita White, told investigators that Caudill died at the Royal Inn in late August and hid his body at an abandoned home. (WSYX/WTTE)

Portsmouth Police said the investigation into a missing autistic child has led them to the discovery of his body.

Police found the remains of 6-year-old T-J Caudill in the backyard of an abandoned home underneath a table in the 1500 block of Mabert Rd in Portsmouth.

The body was taken to the Montgomery County Morgue in Dayton for official identification.

Caudill was last seen by his paternal family in June of 2016. His mother, Margarita L. White made frequent moves around the tri-state area. An official missing child report was filed with the Portsmouth Police Department on November 6, 2016.

With the assistance of multiple agencies, investigators from the Portsmouth Police Department and the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office were able to locate Caudill's mother, and serve a warrant for her arrest that had been filed by Scioto County Juvenile Court for failure to enroll Caudill in school.

During the interview, White told investigators that Caudill was deceased. The 25-year-old mother then led officers to the location of her son's remains.

White told police the boy died in the Royal Inn in late August and they hid his body behind the house.

"Obviously any time you have a young child that dies at the hands of anybody it's gut wrenching,but especially when it is a child with a disability such as autism," said Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware. "The fact that mom and dad were drug users impacts the situation. The drug issue nationwide has claimed so many victims, and often times children are the victims of that epidemic."

Investigators with the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office assisted detectives in the investigation.

White is expected to appear for a video arraignment from the Scioto County Jail on Tuesday.

Her boyfriend, 33-year-old Douglas Hunt, was in custody in Huntington, West Virginia and was awaiting an extradition hearing.

The 1500 block of Mabert Rd remained closed for several hours while officers recovered the remains.

The Caudill family has asked for privacy while they mourn.

Neighbors said they were sad to hear about the child's death. Pamela Knell has ten grandchildren and said she thinks TJ fell through the cracks of the system.

"He was thrown away like a piece of trash. Do you realize we live in a society where children are considered disposable?" asked Knell. "There is no child, nobody on the face of this earth that needs to be treated like that: nobody, I don't care who you are, what you have done, especially a child that is autistic."

ABC 6/FOX 28 will continue to update this story as soon as new information becomes available.

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