UK & World News

  • 17 January 2014, 12:57

Mikaeel Kular: Search Enters Second Day

Hundreds of volunteers have begun a search for missing three-year-old Mikaeel Kular in Edinburgh.

A large crowd gathered at a community centre in the Scottish city in response to police appeals for help.

They dispersed in groups to search for the boy who has not been seen since he was put to bed by his mother at around 9pm on Wednesday.

At a press conference earlier, Superintendent Liz McAinsh said "hundreds and hundreds" of police officers, from forces across the UK, were searching for Mikaeel.

She revealed that police had received 150 calls to a hotline dedicated to the boy's disappearance and all lines of inquiry were still open.

"We are deeply concerned we have no positive sightings of Mikaeel. There's lots of activity today, lots of police officers, helped by members of the public," she said.

 "I remain optimistic, I really do, but as time passes we become deeply concerned."

Some investigators have said that it would have been "practically impossible" for Mikaeel to have left the home alone and suspect a professional abduction.

The child's mother put him to bed at around 9pm on Wednesday, only to find his room empty on Thursday morning.

Sky News correspondent Gerard Tubb said that a friend of the mother had described her as a "fantastic mum" who would do anything for her children.

Supt McAinsh said: "Mikaeel's mother is getting a lot of support from both the police, her family and her friends but clearly she is very distraught, she just wants her little boy back home with his brothers and sisters." 

She said that officers have spoken to Mikaeel's father and that all of the boy's family have been very helpful to the police.

She added: "No-one is detained, no-one is a suspect, we have no evidence of any criminality."

Supt McAinsh said she was not aware of any tension in the family that would have caused Mikaeel to run away.

A police helicopter, sniffer dogs, coastguard and lifeboat teams have been searching the area surrounding the flat he shares with four siblings in Ferry Gait Crescent.

Forensic teams are examining a second address in a block of flats near his home.

Officers have also urged neighbours to check gardens, sheds, parks and lock-ups.

David Cowin, a volunteer who met at the Local Team Office in West Pilton Gardens for today's search, said: "At times like this you just want to help as much as you can."

Briefing the searchers, inspector David Happs said: "The community spirit here has been fantastic. That's absolutely recognised by ourselves and our real sincere thanks to everyone that has come out and helped so far."

This afternoon, volunteers could be seen standing shoulder to shoulder, scouring the foreshore at Cramond. Many of those taking part were mothers wheeling prams.

The temperature in Edinburgh overnight dropped to around 3C.

Police Scotland has activated the Child Rescue Alert system, which is usually reserved for abduction and kidnap cases and supported by all police forces across the UK.

The search remains focused around the Drylaw, Pennywell, Muirhouse and Silverknowes areas of Edinburgh, but other forces are now involved.

Mikaeel, who has two sisters and two brothers, was discovered missing from his bed by his mother at around 7.15am on Thursday.

He usually sleeps in the same room as his twin sister but was alone on Wednesday night.

His jacket and shoes were missing and police are looking into whether he might have left of his own accord. 

Mikaeel is slim, 2ft, of Asian appearance and possibly wearing a thigh-length beige hooded coat. He may also be wearing black gloves with multi-coloured fingers, dark navy blue jogging bottoms, a grey pyjama top with an embroidered turquoise dinosaur on the chest and brown Clarks shoes.

He has a faded scar on the bridge of his nose and a sore on the left hand side of his mouth.

Anyone with information can call the missing hotline number 0300 200 0200, dedicated to Mikaeel's case, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

:: Watch live on Sky News, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.

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