Police to question teenager and toddler on death of 3-year-old

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POLICE were last night waiting to question a teenager and a toddler about the death of a three-year-old boy found face down in a puddle.

A 15-year-old girl, described as having learning difficulties, and another three-year-old boy had been playing with Louis Wedge shortly before his body was found by a railway line three miles from his home in Maltby, South Yorkshire. Detectives believe Louis, who had superficial cuts and bruises, drowned, although the results of a post- mortem examination are not expected until later today. Tests, however, established that he had not been hit by a train. A child psychiatrist yesterday interviewed the girl, who was being looked after by social workers, to establish whether she is fit to be questioned by police over the death, which happened on Saturday, although details were only made public yesterday.

Louis's parents, Neil Wedge and Stephanie Jones, began searching with neighbours after he did not come in for his lunch. He had been helping his father build a fence in the garden.

The parents of the other two children, who live near Louis's home in the mining town, also became alarmed when they failed to return.

Police believe the children walked across country lanes and fields. They were contacted four hours after the youngster went missing.

A teacher out walking in the country recognised the teenager, who was with the three-year-old, both of whom looked muddy and dishevelled, and took them to the police. Information provided by the children led to police sending a helicopter to search for Louis.

He was found three miles from home lying in a seven-inch deep puddle under a farm bridge next to a single track railway line, near the village of Stainton. Attempts to revive him at the scene and at Rotherham district hospital failed.

Detective Superintendent Roger Vickers said: "We are going to interview the two children ... she's a child with some learning difficulties and the other child is just three years of age and that makes it very difficult." He said the girl had not been detained or arrested.

Yesterday Louis's parents were being comforted by the teenage girl's family.

Kay Hampson, a neighbour, said: "[Miss Jones] moved in just before Christmas with her boyfriend, Louis, and little girl Jessica, who is younger than Louis.

"She's a nice girl and Louis was a very quiet kid. Everyone here turned out to help look for him on Saturday. It's all terrible."