The body of Karl Moore, seven, was found near a beach in north county Dublin on Saturday morning, just an hour after a search was launched for him.
The boy, who was mildly handicapped, had been staying at his aunt’s house in Balbriggan town and apparently wandered away.
She reported him missing to gardaí in Balbriggan immediately after she discovered he was gone.
Gardaí launched a hunt and shortly afterwards found the boy’s body floating in the sea off Balbriggan beach.
It’s understood a man who was out walking his dog on what is known locally as the “back beach” raised the alarm.
“Karl had been reported missing at 9.45am from a relative’s home in Balbriggan and his body was found at 10.50am on Balbriggan beach,” said a garda spokesman.
The boy, from Inbhir Ide in Malahide, north Dublin was taken to Temple Street Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A garda spokesman said officers did not suspect foul play. Indications suggest the boy accidentally drowned.
The boy had been staying in the town about 200 yards from where he was found.
A post mortem is due to be carried out today to confirm the cause of death.
Gardaí led by Detective Sergeant Patrick Marry of Balbriggan Garda Station are conducting an investigation into the death.
Gardaí broke the news to the boy’s family on Saturday afternoon.