Pictured in his Spider-Man outfit: Boy, 2, who fell into river as parents tell of heartbreaking search for their son

21 February 2024, 15:49 | Updated: 21 February 2024, 16:29

Xielo Maruziva fell into the water on Sunday afternoon
Xielo Maruziva fell into the water on Sunday afternoon. Picture: Leicestershire Police

By Asher McShane

A two-year-old boy who fell into the River Soar has today been named as Xielo Maruziva as his family described the youngster as a “bundle of joy.”

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Search efforts have been ongoing in the area since Sunday afternoon after Xielo was fell into the water.

Xielo’s mother and father both issued statements today as search efforts continue.

His mother said: “Xielo is a cheeky, funny, friendly, smart, caring and independent little boy. He never fails to make me laugh or smile and always loves a cuddle and some kisses.

“Xielo loves playing with his toys and watching cartoons including Bino and Fino.

Police divers continue to search Aylestone Meadows, the Grand Union Canal and surrounding areas for a 2 year old boy that fell into flood water
Police divers continue to search Aylestone Meadows, the Grand Union Canal and surrounding areas for a 2 year old boy that fell into flood water. Picture: Alamy

“Me, his dad and the whole family are so heartbroken at what has happened. We thank everyone who has supported us and helped us during this time. We are extremely grateful for this.

Read more: 'He just disappears into the water': Police searching River Soar in Leicester for missing two-year-old find CCTV

Read more: Police urge dog-walker to come forward as hunt for boy, 2, who fell into River Soar enters third day

“All we want is for Xielo to be found as soon as possible. Thank you.”

Xielo’s father added: “Xielo is a bundle of joy to us.

The boy's family released a picture today of him wearing a Spider-Man fancy dress costume
The boy's family released a picture today of him wearing a Spider-Man fancy dress costume. Picture: Leicestershire Police

“He is a charming and creative little boy and has just started at nursery. He loves cuddles, playing with his toys and going to the park.

“As a family we have been completely devastated over the past few days as the search for Xielo continues. It is hard to describe the pain and suffering we are going through.

"We would like to thank the search teams at the scene. We would also like to thank members of the public for all of your support. It is your prayers which are keeping us strong.

Xielo's parents described the boy as a  "bundle of joy" as search efforts continue
Xielo's parents described the boy as a "bundle of joy" as search efforts continue. Picture: Alamy

“We kindly ask that people wait for updates through the authorities in relation to the search as we continue to be overwhelmed with enquiries and messages at this time.

“Thank you all for your ongoing love and support.”

Specialist police divers continued a third full day of searches for the youngster on Wednesday in the Aylestone Meadows area of Leicester, despite difficult conditions caused by heavy rainfall.

Yesterday police said they wanted to get in touch with a man seen walking his dog at about 5pm on Sunday who may have seen the incident.

Specialist police divers continued a third full day of searches for the youngster on Wednesday
Specialist police divers continued a third full day of searches for the youngster on Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

Officers confirmed on Tuesday that CCTV footage had been recovered showing the moment the two-year-old local boy, who was with family members, fell into the fast-flowing river, which had burst its banks in parts of the nature reserve.

In a statement, Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr said: "As we now enter the fourth day of the search for the missing boy, we have been truly overwhelmed by the support we have received from forces and other agencies across the country as well as from our communities and the wider public.

"The priority for us all remains to find this little boy and we are grateful for all of your help and support.

"Specialist officers continue to provide full support to the family and our thoughts very much remain with them. I thank them for their bravery, their support and co-operation with us at this extremely traumatic time.

"I would also like to add that following the appeal we issued on Monday evening for witnesses, we have had a large number of responses and have identified a number of people who were in the area at the time who have provided us with information."

Ms Kerr added: "While the weather conditions today do make the search more difficult for us, this will absolutely not stop our dedicated and specialist teams at the scene from doing everything they can.

"Our search operation today does very much remain ongoing."

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