CASS COUNTY, Texas — The bodies of three missing children were found in a pond in Cass County over the weekend, according to authorities.
All three children were siblings who were reported missing Friday night.
Their bodies were located and recovered Saturday morning by divers after clothing was found near a private pond outside of Atlanta, Texas, on Saturday.
Cass County Sheriff Larry Rowe told KHOU 11 News the investigation was turned over to the Texas Rangers, who released a statement Wednesday on the incident.
"At the request of the Cass County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Rangers are investigating the drowning deaths of three juveniles, ages 5, 8 and 9," the statement said.
"The drowning occurred July 30 around 2 a.m. at a private pond off SH 77. The three siblings had been reported missing around 10 p.m. the previous night. This is an ongoing investigation and additional information will be released when it is available."
Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens, along with Rowe's office and emergency services with Cass County, were called to look for the children Friday night.
Game wardens began their search with K-9 units around the pond, which was 200 yards away from the home, according to Lt. Jason Jones.
"Close to the pond, we found a pair of tennis shoes right next to the water," Jones told KTBS. "We had the family members identify that was one of the girls' tennis shoes that was missing."
Authorities haven't determined what led up to their disappearance, but Jones said he speculates that the kids may have just been playing.
"In rural areas, kids play," Jones said. "You know, I'm speculating they were just outside playing and ended up missing."
Jones said divers were called in to help after footprints were found in the mud leading into the water.
The three bodies were sent off for autopsies.