MILILANI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The search for a missing 7-year-old boy in Mililani ended with a heartbreaking discovery Christmas morning.
Police confirm the body of Paul Kevin Rozier was found in a backyard pool at a vacant home off Anania Drive, about a half mile away from the boy's home.
Preliminary investigation indicates he died of accidental drowning. There were no signs of foul play.
Detectives said a woman walking her dog came upon the scene just before 8 a.m. Monday and called police.
"This is not how we wanted this to end," said Paul Rozier, the boy's father.
The Roziers said they were out Christmas shopping and their son, who was autistic, was at their home off Lahe Street on Christmas Eve with cousins when he disappeared around 5 p.m., as he often did.
"It was a constant race to keep ahead of him and to be able to keep him in the house," the father said. "Though he was only partially verbal, he was extremely smart."
The family put out a call for help on social media after learning of his disappearance and the search was on.
Strangers from all over the island came out in droves to help look.
"His teachers, his therapists and behavioral techs and just random people who heard us calling for him on the street and asked what was happening were searching," said the father.
"People who've never really been to Mililani came," said Jasmine Rozier, the boy's mother. "People who have never met us, who probably we may never see again. We just wanted to say thank you for not making us feel alone in one of the worst times of our lives."
Now, the Roziers say they are focusing on staying strong for their 2-year-old daughter, knowing they are gifted with wonderful memories of Paul Kevin forever.
"We can't take a bad outcome to mean that all of the good things that happened up to that point mean nothing," the father said.
"His personality, his spirit, his heart, he was just the most caring, loving, amazing kid ever and we only had seven years with him but those were the best seven years I could have ever asked for," said Jasmine Rozier.