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German police say missing refugee boy likely dead after finding body in Berlin

German police believe a four-year-old refugee, who went missing in Berlin, is likely to be dead. Investigators who found the body of a young child believe Mohamed was abducted.

Authorities said on Thursday that officers investigating Mohamed's disappearance had found a child's body and arrested the four-year-old's suspected kidnapper. The body was found in a car belonging to a 32-year-old suspect. The cause and time of the young boy's death is expected to be determined during the autopsy.

Mohamed had been with his mother and his siblings at a collection point for refugees in the center of Berlin, when he disappeared earlier in October.

According to police, the man arrested on Thursday had appeared on multiple surveillance systems in Berlin's Moabit district, where he also reportedly lived.

Month-long investigation

Mohamed was caught on camera as he was taken by the hand on October 1, after a man approached him in the grounds of the Berlin State Office for Health and Social Affairs (LaGeSo) - the focal point for refugees in Germany's capital.

In the weeks following Mohamed's disappearance, police analyzed photos and video footage and were also provided with additional information from the suspect's family.

In the days leading up to Thursday's arrests, police stepped up its investigation and published new high-resolution images. On Tuesday, police interviewed residents and passers-by around the LaGeSo until late evening.

By Thursday morning, authorities had been provided with 350 pieces of evidence or tip-offs. German prosecutors had offered a reward of 10,000 euros ($10,940) for information leading to the perpetrators. Two private individuals also offered 10,000 euros as a reward.

ksb/jil (dpa, epd)

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