Outback mystery: Boy missing as three found dead

Police have found the body of a child near where a young family were found dead in the NT

The bodies of two adults and a child were found late on Wednesday near Willowra, about 300 kilometres northwest of Alice Springs.

Northern Territory Police and Emergency Services are doing land and air searches of the Willowra area, 300km northwest of Alice Springs, after the group was found dead near their broken down auto yesterday.

It is believed a 12-year-old boy was also a passenger in the vehicle but he has not been found.

The bodies of a man and a woman, both aged 19, and their three-year-old son were found 4.5km away from their broken-down vehicle on Wednesday.

On Thursday afternoon, police said a child's body had been discovered 120 meters (400 feet) from the family but wouldn't confirm whether it was the missing child.

Southern Desert Division Superintendent Jody Nobbs said police were yet to rule out that there may have been more passengers. According to local media, there's reports the young family may have died from exposure.

"We will continue a precautionary land and air search until we are satisfied that all areas of interest have been sufficiently canvassed", he said in a statement Thursday.

The group was last seen leaving Willowra, a small community, on Friday.

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"This is a tragic situation and our thoughts remain with the families affected by this incident".

Police do not believe the deaths are suspicious, and food and water were found at the scene.

Remnants of food and water were found in the auto.

Police say the deaths were reported by a "distraught" man who raised the alarm at a medical facility in Willowra.

First reports to police on Wednesday indicated the vehicle had crashed but once investigators arrived it was clear there had not been a crash.

"He will be a critical part of the investigation".

"This does serve as a timely reminder to anybody travelling on the Northern Territory roads, when you do travel, your vehicle is in a fit state for travel", Superintendent Nobbs said.

Police have called for anyone with information on the child's whereabouts to contact them immediately.

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