MASON COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – A 10-year-old boy in Mason County, West Virginia, was found dead on Sunday morning from a gunshot wound after becoming separated from his grandfather during a hunting trip the day before.

Wyatt Ray Eaves and his grandfather had set out Saturday to go hunting, an activity they both loved, his mother Adrienne Nibert told Nexstar’s WOWK.

“He loved the outdoors, hunting, fishing, trapping, he loved it all,” Nibert said. “If you’ve seen him, you’ve seen his grandpa. They were best friends.”

Nibert told WOWK that the two had become separated sometime on Saturday afternoon, after the boy, who was carrying a rifle, went off on his own.

Around 3 p.m. that day, crews from the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, as well as local fire and EMS departments, were called to the site of an ATV accident in the Salt Creek area of Mason County. There, they learned the victim of the accident had been separated from the 10-year-old about an hour before.

Wyatt Ray Eaves’ mother told Nexstar’s WOWK that he and his grandfather, who he had been hunting with the day before he was found dead, were “best friends.” (Adrienne Nibert)

Nibert and her family searched all night Saturday into Sunday, along with hundreds of volunteers and first responders. The child’s body was found around 7 a.m. Sunday. When officers and medics arrived, they found the victim had “died due to a single gunshot wound.”

An investigation into the boy’s death is ongoing. The sheriff’s office is asking for privacy for the child’s family at this time.

Wyatt, a student at Roosevelt Elementary School, was smart, respectful, and wiser than his years, Nibert said.

In fact, she said her son had a dream of joining the military ever since he was a little boy.

“He always wanted to be a Marine,” Nibert said. “He would always tell me, ‘Mom, when I turn eighteen, I’m going to be a Marine.’ Everybody at school loved him. He was so respectful. He put everybody else first.”

The 10-year-old is survived by an older sister and younger brother. Nibert said his loss has been hard on them too — all they want is to be able to see their brother one more time.

For now, Nibert said, the family is doing their best to get through the tragedy together.

“I just don’t have any other option but to keep going,” Nibert said. “I think I’ll feel a lot better when he’s home and he can rest. But I’ll always miss him.”