The bodies of two Aboriginal brothers aged three and five have been found by Queensland police after they went missing in Townsville overnight.
Police had hoped the children were lost after they were caught on security cameras walking away from a Cranbrook home on Monday, towards a riverside park where they often played.
Officers made the heart-breaking discovery near Cranbrook Park just before 6 am on Tuesday.
"We received information late last night - and that will be followed up later this morning - that a member of the public had seen the boys jumping into the water near this area," Senior Sergeant Ian Wilkie told ABC television on Tuesday.
"We have searched that area and located the boys.
"Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family this morning. Their grief must be unbearable."
He said the river bank where the boys were found was steep, with weeds and other debris in the water after recent floods in Townsville.
Hundreds of locals turned out to help with the search after the boys' relatives contacted police saying they had not returned home at the usual time.
"They were buying batteries at shops, (they were on) social media, people were wandering everywhere, helping out. We appreciate their efforts. We thank them for their efforts," Snr Sgt Wilkie said.
"Sadly in this case we won't be able to come to a happy conclusion. Our thoughts are with the family."
Townsville MP Scott Stewart said the incident was devastating. He praised locals for helping search after police issued an amber alert for the children.
"It's that Townsville strong spirit that we have. We band together, we look after one another, and this is where we stand strong together," he told The Courier-Mail.
Earlier police said the boys had been regular visitors to the park.
A report will be prepared for the coroner.