Police have charged tribal member Anthony M. Bennett, 20, with assaulting Carnel Chamberlain, 4, the Michigan boy who went missing June 21. Chamberlain’s badly burned body was found on June 28 under the porch at his home on the reservation of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. Bennett, the boyfriend of Carnel’s mother’s Jaimee Chamberlain, 21, was the last person to see the boy before he disappeared. Bennett’s uncooperativeness piqued investigators’ suspicions during the search. Both Bennett and Chamberlain were asked to take polygraph tests. Chamberlain passed two lie-detector tests, but Bennett refused to take the test.
Tribal police initially led the search for the missing boy, aided by scores of volunteers, searching a 10-mile radius around the boy’s home, his last known whereabouts. Eventually the F.B.I. and 37 other agencies joined the search, providing search dogs, helicopters, infrared cameras, and sonar equipment for the search.
Kevin Chamberlain, the tribe’s former chief, and a cousin of Carnel, did not know what had led searchers back to the house where the boy’s body was eventually found. He told reporters that the body “had to be in a grave. We had looked underneath before and didn’t see anything.”
Thursday, hundreds at the reservation attended a vigil for the boy.
As of this writing, Bennett has not been charged with murder.