Mother of Pearland teen thanks searchers

PEARLAND, TX Laura Wilkerson, Joshua's mother, was with search teams yesterday. She hope her son would be found alive, but that hope turned into heartbreak when police found her son's body in a field.

Today, joined by friends and family members, Laura expressed her thanks to the volunteers who helped search for Joshua.

She reported her son missing Tuesday after they hadn't heard from him, then found his vehicle abandoned. Police say a 19-year-old acquaintance of Joshua told them Joshua had been assaulted and left in a field.

Last night, that acquaintance-turned-suspect led police to a piece of property along FM 521 near 518, where police recovered the victim's body.

Laura Wilkerson says the family is now trying to draw strength from her son to try to get through this.

"While this is not the end we had hoped for, we had to know something," she said. "The Pearland Police Department, and all the detectives, so many I can't name them, but they just worked endlessly. They helped us to bring a little sense of closure."

Joshua's mother didn't take questions. As for the suspect, he's in custody with charges pending. At this point, we don't know of a motive.

Meantime, Pearland ISD, where Joshua attended school, released the following statement:

    Pearland Independent School District has learned that a missing student has been found dead.

    PACE Center student Joshua Wilkerson disappeared after school on Tuesday, Nov. 16. The Pearland Police Department and Texas Equusearch volunteers launched a search in Pearland after Wilkerson's parents reported his disappearance.

    The search ended when investigators discovered a body overnight believed to be Wilkerson.

    PACE Center is providing counselors to speak with students and staff today and as long as needed. Pearland ISD offers its deepest sympathy to Wilkerson's family.

    "We will all miss Joshua. He was a polite, dedicated student. At school, he worked hard to accomplish his tasks, and each day he left with the same resolve to conquer any challenge that lay ahead," Julia Hall, PACE Center principal, said.

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