NT police search for missing boy after three found dead near auto

Police searching for a missing 12-year-old boy in remote Central Australia have found the body of a child.

A formal identification of the child is yet to be undertaken and police have not confirmed if it is the body of the 12-year-old boy believed to be a passenger in the auto.

The bodies of two adults, both 19, and their three-year-old son were found near a remote road about 1,000km (620 miles) south of Darwin on Wednesday.

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.

The vehicle was found about 70km from Willowra and last seen leaving the indigenous community on Friday bound for Yarra Yarra.

Southern Desert Division Superintendent Jody Nobbs said the possibility there were more passengers in the vehicle has not been ruled out.

"The whereabouts of this 12-year-old boy are not known at this point in time", Duty Superintendent Shaun Gill told ABC radio on Thursday.

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According to police, family members have been told about the child's disappearance but have not authorized the release of his name.

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

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

NT Police were alerted to the deaths, which were not believed to be suspicious, when a person walked into a local health clinic and raised the alarm just after midday yesterday.

Police are calling on anyone with information to contact them immediately on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.

Three people have died and a boy is missing after their vehicle broke down in outback Australia, police say.

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