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'He made this place whole': After discovery of human remains, community rallies support for Xavior Harrelson

The missing person signs showing the boy's smiling face will remain on display until the community receives confirmation on whether or not the remains are his.

MONTEZUMA, Iowa — The Montezuma community is still wrapping its head around the news of one of their own possibly being found dead near a farmer's field Thursday afternoon. 

A farmer discovered the remains of an adolescent in a grassy area near Lake Ponderosa and contacted the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Department around 2 p.m. Thursday. 

Additional authorities, like the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and State Medical Examiner's Office, were called to help with the investigation.

Iowa DCI Assistant Director Mitch Mortvedt told reporters the clothing found near the remains is consistent with what Xavior Harrelson had been wearing when he went missing on May 27. 

However, it is yet to be confirmed if the remains belong to the missing 11-year-old. 

RELATED: Iowa DCI confirms human remains found in Poweshiek County

Mayor Jacki Bolen held a press conference Friday to discuss the discovery.

"Maybe we should've expected something like this, but we were really hoping for a positive outcome," Bolen said. "We don't know for sure if this was, in fact, Xavior. We just don't know so we're holding out hope."

The missing person signs showing the boy's smiling face will remain on display until the community receives confirmation on whether or not the remains are indeed his.

Other people who spoke with Local 5's Carson J.S. Reichardt said Xavior was a light in the neighborhood where he lived. Neighbors said his absence has left a hole in the heart of the town. 

"The loss of him... he made this place whole, you know. Every little smile, every little giggle. It's heartbreaking," said Amanda Carman of Montezuma. "It's hard to come to grasp that just one day he was riding his bike, playing with his friends, and the next thing you know, he's gone."

Other residents told Local 5 it's still too soon to talk about what Thursday's discovery means because the identity has not been confirmed.

Mark Baughman, a crime and safety expert, said these ordeals can cause a community to be more careful.

"People were a lot more vigilant. I think they look around more; they look after their children maybe a little more cautiously. But then as a community, as a neighborhood, clearly, people become a little more vigilant; they start looking out for other kids, not just their own kids," said Baughman.

On Thursday, investigators urged the public to come forward with any information they may have about Xavior Harrelson's disappearance or the remains found on Thursday.  

Baughman said he expects more tips will start coming in to investigators.

"Law enforcement may give out a pretty good location of where he that body was found. And they're going to do that because people are going to say, 'You know, during that timeframe, there was a car over here, or there was something over there, or someone over there during that timeframe.'"

The Montezuma Community School District posted on Facebook on Friday that counselors would be available for students and staff on Friday and Monday.

RELATED: 'Day of action' planned to raise awareness for Montezuma boy who's been missing since May

Catch up on the search for Xavior on Local 5's YouTube channel