Searchers in Florida have found the body of 13-year-old Boston Bramlage.
The announcement was made Friday afternoon. His body was found about half a mile from the crash site. Trees had kept him hidden from the view of searchers in the air.
The boy, his three siblings and parents died in a plane crash Thursday afternoon. The family was from Junction City, KS.
Hundreds attended a candlelight vigil outside the family's home Friday night. The street was shut down, and many of the those in attendance cried.
A few birthday signs were displayed for Boston, whose 14th birthday would have been Sunday.
Investigators believe Boston was sucked out of the plane piloted by his father when the plane first experienced problems at 26,100 feet. Debris was strewn across several miles of a heavily wooded, rugged remote area.
The plane crashed about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. A witness described watching the plane spiral as it fell from the sky before landing with a boom.
Federal investigators said Ron Bramlage, 45, issued a Mayday call, but did not identify the problem. He also triggered a distress beacon that helped searchers locate the plane.
The family was en route to Kansas after a vacation in the Bahamas with family members who live in the island nation. They had stopped off at a St. Lucie County airport for customs purposes and had taken off about again about noon.
"We know the child is not in the aircraft. We know there is a gaping hole in the aircraft in the area of one of the seats," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters before the discovery was made. "We are looking for this child as if he were our child out here. We don't know where he is. But certainly we will continue to search until we find him."
Judd said the search included a nearby lake.
"We've got to find the child," the sheriff said.
And they finally did.
He said the discovery will give surviving family members some semblance of closure.
Once the plane crash site was reached, investigators found inside the plane the bodies of Ron Bramlage, Rebecca Bramlage, 43, and three of their children: Brandon, 15, Beau, 11, and Roxanne, 8.
Rebecca "Becky" Bramlage was president of the Geary County School Board. Counselors are meeting with the children's grieving classmates Friday.
One sobbing classmate said she couldn't believe the news. She said she felt like she had been punched in the stomach.
Ron Bramlage was a prominent businessman in Junction City. He owned Roadside Ventures LLC, an outdoor advertising company in Junction City.
Ron Bramlage was the grandson of the late Fred Bramlage, a 1935 graduate and a Junction City businessman. Fred Bramlage was the lead contributor to the construction of Bramlage Coliseum, a multipurpose arena that opened in 1988 and is the home to K-State's basketball teams.
Roadside Ventures bought the single-engine aircraft involved in the crash about three months ago. The company bought the plane from Todd Macoluso. The Florida attorney represented Casey Anthony, a Florida mother who was acquitted in the death of her daughter, Caylee.
The plane drew national attention when it was used to fly Anthony from Orlando after she finished serving her jail time for lying to investigators about the death of her daughter and writing hot checks.
The plane was also used for a relief mission in Haiti after that country's earthquake.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will spend months investigating the cause of the crash. Weather was stormy at the time of the crash. Federal investigators will also look at mechanical records.
Funeral arrangements for the Bramlage family are pending. Family members in mourning who have traveled to Florida offered "sincere appreciation" for the support they have received during their time of sorrow.
Those who knew Becky Bramlage said she would say, "Tomorrow will be a better day." They praised her commitment to education and providing better opportunities for young people.
"They made significant contributions to our school foundation," Geary County Schools Superintendent Ron Walker said.
The family offered their time, energy and money to provide scholarships and give children a chance to attend college.
But the couple didn't toot their own horn.
"Ron and Becky were not the type of folks who sought the limelight or glory," said Gary Schoenrock, a family friend. "It was very quiet, it was very low key... I don't think anybody can fill this vacuum."
He said just a month ago the family celebrated the purchase of the plane.
"My wife has pictures of Roxanne doing cartwheels on the tarmac with such excitement that her dad had gotten a new plane," Schoenrock recalled.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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