CASS COUNTY, Mo. - Tony Eugene "Gene" Cory-Ferguson’s family grieves after he drowned in a neighbor’s pond.
“He was just a perfect little boy, sorry,” grandmother Margie Ferguson said.
Only one day has passed, but for Ferguson the loss of her grandson is unbearable.
“Last night I tried to close my eyes and I could hear him say, ‘Poppa let’s go play.’ I kept hearing, I could hear his voice,” she said.
His family said the boy with Autism known as “gene” spent most of Tuesday morning riding his pony around their fenced backyard.
At the same time, all the home’s doors were open for a repairman to work on the home’s air conditioning unit. Shortly after 11 a.m., Cory-Ferguson was nowhere to be found.
“I didn’t see Gene out in the driveway, so I got in my car and drove down here over to Cooks and lookin the barns and I hollered and hollered and didn’t see him anywhere,” Ferguson said.
Law enforcement and volunteers searched a vast area from the air and on the ground for the 5-year-old boy.
Divers found the boy’s body at the bottom of a pond shortly before the seventh hour of the search.
Cory-Ferguson lived with his grandparents ever since he was a baby, and they adopted him a year ago.
As a child with Autism, he’d wandered away from home in the past, but he had always been found.
Cory-Ferguson loved watching game shows and aspired to be a firefighter. He was set to begin kindergarten this upcoming school year.
“I can’t imagine never seeing him again. I can’t imagine not seeing him grow up,” Ferguson said.
There is a barbed wire fence that separated the house from the pond, but it doesn’t extend around the perimeter of the pond. That’s something the family wants to see change as a result of this tragedy.