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

20 February 2024, 14:47

Police searching the River Soar in Leicester for a missing two-year-old boy have recovered CCTV footage
Police searching the River Soar in Leicester for a missing two-year-old boy have recovered CCTV footage. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Police searching the River Soar in Leicester for a missing two-year-old boy have recovered CCTV footage which they believe shows him falling into the water from a towpath.

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Leicestershire Police Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr said this afternoon: "This continues to be Leicestershire Police's number one priority - recovering that little boy and making sure that the family are well-supported.

"We have now recovered CCTV imagery that we believe shows the moment when the little boy disappeared into the water."

As well as assisting the search operation, the CCTV had allowed officers to ensure that the right information had been given to family members.

Asked about what the CCTV showed, Ms Kerr added: "All we can say at the moment is that he was with family members.

"The last thing that we can see of the CCTV is that he just disappears into the water. I am not in a position to be too specific about that but we do know he was out with family members at the time."

She said his disappearance was the "worst possible nightmare".

Confirming that the incident is still being treated as a missing person inquiry, Ms Kerr said: "We have got nothing to suggest anything other than this is a tragic set of circumstances."

The senior officer said marine recovery dogs were now involved in the searches, while a drone unit is also assisting the operation.

Ms Kerr added: "We have had tremendous support from the local community, and we thank everyone who has assisted with our enquiries.

"This is an extremely difficult time for the family, our thoughts are very much with them, and we continue to support them.

"A number of teams from across the force and region have assisted us during this operation and our priority remains to locate the young boy."

The boy's father went into the water after he fell in near Aylstone in Leicestershire to try to find his son. He later had to be taken to hospital as a precaution.

Sergeant Chris Haines, who is leading the search, said: "Underwater dive teams are doing extensive searches, which they are continuing at present."

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.

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A search operation underway on the River Soar in Leicester
A search operation underway on the River Soar in Leicester. Picture: Alamy

Investigations as to the circumstances of how the boy fell in the water are in the "very early stages," police said.

The family are being supported by specially trained officers.

Members of the public are being told to stay well away from the "dangerous" flooded area.

Assistant chief constable Michaela Kerr said: "We're confident we will find him - we're doing everything we possibly can.

"For the family, our commitment is absolutely to make sure we bring their little boy home.

Leicestershire Police Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr
Leicestershire Police Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr. Picture: Alamy

"We've got all the specialist resources we would possibly want, I think, in a case like this. Our absolute priority is to find that little boy."

ACC Kerr added: "The child was with a family member at the time he went into the water.

"We do know one person went into the River Soar to try to get the child but sadly we still haven't been able to find the child.'

Police divers and a helicopter are assisting in the search
Police divers and a helicopter are assisting in the search. Picture: Alamy

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service said police are leading the operation with support from multiple other forces and dozens of officers joining the search effort.

Specialist divers and a helicopter equipped with thermal imaging cameras have also joined the search, police said today.

Emergency services attended the scene just after 5pm yesterday and a search and rescue operation began in Aylestone Meadows, close to Marsden Lane, a tow path that runs alongside the River Soar.

Police used thermal cameras and night vision to carry on the search during the night
Police used thermal cameras and night vision to carry on the search during the night. Picture: Alamy

Leicestershire Police said yesterday: "Our thoughts are with them at this extremely difficult time.

"We have had a number of offers of support to assist with the search and would kindly ask that people do not attend the scene due to rising water levels and safety risks.

"If anyone has any information or comes across anything that may assist officers, they are asked to contact us immediately."

People are asked to contact 999 with information quoting incident 476:180224.

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