Search for missing three-year-old boy extended to coast

Major operation to locate Mikaeel Kular

Liz McCainsh holds a photo of missing child Mikaeel Kular, 3, near his home  in Edinburgh.

Liz McCainsh holds a photo of missing child Mikaeel Kular, 3, near his home in Edinburgh.

Fri, Jan 17, 2014, 01:00

The search for a three-year-old boy who disappeared from his home in Scotland overnight has been extended to the coastline.

A major operation is under way in Edinburgh to locate Mikaeel Kular after his mother found his bed empty yesterday morning.

A police helicopter, sniffer dogs, coastguard and lifeboat teams have been tasked in the search for the toddler who was last seen at his family’s flat in Ferry Gait Crescent at about 9pm.

His jacket and shoes are missing and police are looking into whether he might have left of his own accord. Police said there is currently no evidence of criminal behaviour.

A dedicated telephone number has been set up for anyone who has seen the child or has information about his whereabouts.

Neighbours on the modern housing estate have joined the search for Mikaeel, a twin who has three other siblings.

One resident, who did not want to give her name, said: “I got woken up at the back of 7am by the police, asking if I’d seen the wee one. I got the fright of my life because I’ve got a child. It’s just absolutely horrific.

“I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. The first thing I did was actually search the stair.”


Searching cars
The neighbour said a group of about 10 mothers have been out in their cars searching the area.

Police Scotland superintendent Liz McAinsh said the force is using all the resources at its disposal in the hunt.

“There have been no arrests. There have been no formal detentions, but several people are assisting us with our inquiries.

“Those inquiries are continuing.”

Asked whether there were any custody issues with the family, she said: ”Obviously we are following all lines of inquiry, there are no concerns that we have at the moment.

“We are following all lines of inquiry with all partner agencies and with the family and the family are being very helpful at the moment.

“As you can imagine, Mikaeel’s mother is distraught. She just wants our help and the public’s help in finding her little boy.”

Mikaeel is described as 3ft, of Asian appearance and possibly wearing a beige hooded jacket, blue jogging bottoms, brown Clarks shoes and nightwear.

The youngster attends a local nursery and Ms McAinsh said: “They say Mikaeel is a friendly, playful wee boy and they are obviously concerned for his safety as well and will do everything they can to help us in finding Mikaeel.”

People were being asked to urgently check all property including gardens, outbuildings, garages, sheds and vehicles for the youngster as darkness fell.


Drop in temperature
Temperatures in Edinburgh dropped to 2.3 degrees last night. Robert Pearson, chairman of a local residents’ group, said he sent out a plea for help earlier and about 50 people responded. He said: “We split up into groups of seven to search the area.

“We are liaising with Police Scotland and will continue to do so until they say it is unsafe to carry on searching. At the moment they have roughly 70 officers searching the area, but the mood amongst the volunteers is that it is feeling quite desperate just now.”

In the House of Commons, Edinburgh MPs expressed their hopes Mikaeel would be safely returned to his family as soon as possibly. – (PA)