GREENE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- An autopsy completed Sunday morning on the body of a 4-year- septic tank did not provide a conclusive answer as to how the boy died, and more tests are needed, the coroner said.
Wyatt Thomas Smitsky, 4, who had a congenital heart defect requiring medication, disappeared while playing outside his home in the 600 block of Georgetown Road in Greene Township early Friday evening.
The body of Wyatt Thomas Smitsky, 4, who has a congenital heart defect, is found in a septic tank at a neighbor's house. His Sunday school teacher remembers him as a "sweet kid" who "liked to play games, snack time."
After extensive search efforts by hundreds of volunteers and officials, hazardous materials crews discovered Wyatt's body in a neighbor's septic tank. Those same searchers gathered Sunday night in seek of closure, as state police continued to investigating, saying they have reason to believe that this was not an accident.
"It is a homicide investigation. We believe he could not have gotten into that septic tank without being put there. The cover is too big for a 4-year-old boy," state police Lt. Thomas Dubovi said. "He could not have removed that heavy lid that goes on that septic tank by himself."
State police withheld filing charges until the coroner could complete an autopsy Sunday morning. No charges were filed as of Sunday afternoon.
Beaver County Coroner Teri Tatalovich-Rossi told WTAE Channel 4's Ashlie Hardway early Sunday afternoon that more tests were pending to determine a cause and manner of death. Tatalovich-Rossi did not estimate how long that would take to complete.
"We believe he could not have gotten into that septic tank without being put there. He could not have removed that heavy lid that goes on that septic tank by himself."
- Lt. Thomas Dubovi,
Pennsylvania State Police
"We just really don't know. We still have work to do, and we're working on it," Tatalovich-Rossi told WTAE Channel 4's news-exchange partner at The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review after the autopsy.
State police said the lid to the septic system appeared tampered with, and, somehow, the lid was back in place after the boy's body was inside. Included in the search area was the lid to the septic tank.
Video: Watch Ashlie Hardway's Report About The Discovery
A relative told WTAE Channel 4's Bob Mayo on Saturday morning that Wyatt had been outside playing with his 3-year-old and 6-year-old sisters. When the children's mother called them in for dinner, the girls came home, but Wyatt did not. The relative said the girls told their mother that Wyatt went under a "sticky fence."
Wyatt's mother, Terry, left state police barracks at about 4 p.m., and the boy's father, John Jr., was held longer. Speaking Saturday afternoon, attorney Joseph Horowitz, representing John Smitsky Jr., shed new light on his client's defense.
"As far as he's concerned, it was an accident," Horowitz said. "He's overwhelmed. As you imagine, he says he had nothing to do with it, and he's been in custody, and his son died. It's a terrible day for him."
Hardway reported she saw the Smitskys at a neighbor's home later Saturday evening. When Hardway met with the family's attorney, Giuseppe Rosselli, he said the police questioning didn't help the family's grieving process.
"It wasn't ideal, but now they're back with family. They've been able to hold each other, talk with each other, grieve together. So, it's a much better process right now," Rosselli said