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Two Red Lake boys, missing since November, found dead

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Two young brothers who disappeared while playing outside their home on the Red Lake Indian Reservation have been found encased in the ice of nearby First Thunders Lake, four months after the search for them began.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Two young brothers who disappeared while playing outside their home on the Red Lake Indian Reservation have been found encased in the ice of nearby First Thunders Lake, four months after the search for them began.

"Our worst fears were confirmed," FBI Special Agent Ralph Boelter said, announcing that the two tiny bodies had been found about a half-mile from their home.

Police dogs picked up the scent of Tristan Anthony White, 4, and Avery Lee Stately, 2, on Sunday, the first day of organized searching after the weather warmed, Boelter said.

"So many people were hoping for the safe return of these boys back home," Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr. said in a statement late Sunday. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family in the wake of this disappointing news, and their heartbreaking loss."

The two boys, both American Indian, disappeared Nov. 22 from their home in a remote area near the Canadian border. Authorities have not determined whether they somehow wandered out onto the lake's thin ice and fell in or if foul play was involved in their deaths.

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Divers searched First Thunders Lake shortly after the two were reported missing, and hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement officers scoured the area, but they found no sign of the boys.

The initial ground search was called off after five days. Boelter said search teams resumed their work on Sunday with the warmer weather.

One theory is that the boys wandered away to the southern edge of the lake, then walked across the partially frozen water before falling through the ice, Boelter said.

The boys' mother, Alicia White, and Avery's father, Jeff Stately, had feared the children were abducted.

Authorities plan to conduct autopsies on the boys in the coming days to help determine what happened.

"I'm grateful that we found the bodies," Boelter said. "Obviously it's very tragic for the families involved as well as the Red Lake Community."

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