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Image: Carnel Chamberlain, 4, who has been found dead
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The body of 4-year-old Carnel Chamberlain was found a week after he was reported missing.
updated 6/29/2012 1:24:27 PM ET 2012-06-29T17:24:27

A 20-year-old man was charged Friday with assaulting his girlfriend's 4-year-old son after the boy's family said the child was found dead under a porch at the mid-Michigan Indian reservation where they lived.

Anthony Bennett was charged in a federal criminal complaint in Bay City, where he was expected to appear in court. He's not charged in the death of Carnel Chamberlain, but the complaint details the reported physical abuse of the child.

Bennett reportedly had consulted with an attorney after Carnel was reported missing, but no lawyer is on record in the case.

Hundreds of people gathered Thursday night at a vigil for Carnel near Mount Pleasant at the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's reservation, where he had lived with his mother and Bennett. He was reported missing June 21 while in the care of Bennett, when his mother was at work.

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For days, investigators searched woods, ponds and the tribe's wastewater treatment areas to no avail. Carnel's body was discovered on Thursday under a wood porch or deck at his single-story home, said Kevin Chamberlain, who is a cousin of Carnel's mother, Jaimee Chamberlain.

Kevin Chamberlain said he didn't know why investigators went back to the house, which had been sealed off by tribal police days earlier.

On Friday morning, a tribal police car sat outside the family's house, less than a mile from tribal police headquarters and the offices of the Saginaw Chippewa tribe. Just beyond the offices is the gleaming Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, which attracts gamblers from around the state and is the tribe's financial lifeblood.

The Associated Press.

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