The medical examiner has identified the body located in a canal near Val Vista and Williams Field roads Wednesday afternoon as 15-year-old Maxwell Flancer.
Gilbert police said the cause of death has not been determined and the case is still under investigation.
Flancer's mother reported him missing about 9 p.m. Tuesday after he never showed up from his father's house about a mile from the canal, police said.
Officers searched the canal and neighborhood Tuesday night but did not find anything.
On Wednesday morning, the boy's mother found what she believed to be his hat floating in the canal.
Gilbert officers called the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Dive Team, which used and underwater robot with a camera and sonar to locate the body.
"It is very difficult once someone falls in, jumps in for whatever reason, very difficult to get out of," Sanger said.
"Max was awesome. He was super fun all the time. He was always bubbly, energetic. (He was) always cracking jokes and playing the guitar," said friend Gabi Caplinger.
Campo Verde High School released this statement Thursday:
"It is with great sadness that we let you know one of our students, Campo Verde sophomore Max Flancer, passed away yesterday. We have been in contact with the family and Gilbert Police, but as of yet we have not received permission to provide any details of the situation. Max, who went to school at both South Valley Junior High and Ashland Ranch Elementary, also has a brother, Gaffney, who is a senior at Campo Verde. Please know that we have a crisis team available on campus today to provide assistance to any students or staff dealing with this tragic loss. Members of the crisis team will visit all of Maxwell's classes throughout the day to work with students and staff.
"If any students needed assistance, they were asked to come to the counseling department anytime during the day. Crisis team members were available throughout the day.
"We will provide you with any updated information regarding services, etc., when that information becomes available.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Maxwell's family and friends during this very difficult time.
"Mike De La Torre"
CBS 5 News spoke with teachers who knew Flancer.
"He was a very sensitive and intelligent young man who looked out for others, and we're all just very upset," said his sixth-grade teacher at Ashland Ranch Elementary, Cameron Harris.
"All of us at the school just felt a tremendous loss, and it's one of the those situations where, unfortunately, you see teachers crying in the hallway," Harris said. "And it's just unfortunate."
Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.