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PEARLAND, Texas The case of a missing Pearland teenager ended in tragedy Wednesday afternoon when the body of Joshua Wilkerson was found in a field near the intersection of FM 518 and FM 521.

Pearland police discovered the 18-year-old high school student s body around 6:30 p.m.

Wilkerson was last seen around noon on Tuesday at his school, Pearland ISD s PACE Center.

His parents reported him missing at 5 p.m. after they found his car abandoned in a shopping center parking lot at 5000 W. Broadway.

Investigators immediately started looking for Wilkerson, and Texas EquuSearch came in to aid the effort.

Dozens of volunteers also participated in the search, which was centered on a huge area of land just north of FM 518.

Police said a friend of Wilkerson s told them the teen was beaten up and left in a field.

That friend eventually led police to the body. He was still in custody Thursday, but charges have not been filed.

The discovery of Joshua s body only ends the search, not the investigation, said Lt. Onesimo Lopez. The Pearland Police Department is committed to thoroughly investigating this crime and holding those responsible accountable.

Classmates at the PACE Center, an alternative school were students can go to earn extra academic credit, spoke highly of Wilkerson.

He was a good kid. He always came to school and stuff. He said he was trying to find a good job and stuff. He was gonna graduate pretty soon, classmate James Nanez said.

After Wilkerson s body was found, Pearland ISD issued a statement, expressing sympathy for the 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.

District officials said grief counselors would be on hand at PACE to help faculty and students cope with the loss.

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