Police find body in hunt for snatched baby

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The Independent Online

Police searching for a missing six-month-old boy have found a baby's body on a patch of waste ground close to his home.

Troy Simpson was reported missing from his home in Smethwick, West Midlands, by his grandmother on Tuesday morning. He appeared to have been snatched from his bedroom the night before. Yesterday, forensic specialists were examining a culvert about 300 metres from the house, after finding "something of concern". The body has not been identified and police refused to say whether it was Troy.

Two women and two men have been arrested and were being questioned last night. Some of the four suspects are thought to be related to Troy.

The child lived with his mother, named by neighbours as Danielle, and grandmother, Theresa, in an area known as Uplands. The child's mother is not thought to have stayed at the house on the night he disappeared.

There was no sign of any break-in and police said that whoever took the child is likely to have known the layout of the house. Police have refused to say whether Troy's mother is among those arrested.

Officers searching for the baby sealed off an area of rough ground and confirmed that they were treating the area as a crime scene.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: "Police officers searching for missing baby Troy Simpson can confirm that they have recovered the body of a young child from a culvert off Stanhope Road.

"The identity is not yet known, the death is being treated as suspicious and a post mortem will be held in due course. Inquiries are continuing."

The area of wasteland off Church Road, which is at the junction of several streets, was being guarded by five uniformed officers.

Forensic specialists were also present and plastic sheeting was used to screen off an area beside a brook.

Earlier Superintendent Andy Bebbington said: "I have to accept the possibility that he [Troy] may be dead. I have at present four people in custody in relation to this matter but despite that fact I do not know whether Troy is alive or dead.

"There are circumstances around this matter that lead me to believe that his death is a possibility.

"The house was in a situation where an intruder would have been very unlikely to be able to enter and to remove the child without intimate knowledge of the premises."

Lisa Parker, the manager of the Old Chapel pub, opposite the family home, said: "I'm devastated. He's a lovely little thing." Mrs Parker, who had given her one-year-old's clothes to Troy, added: "Danielle's a nice girl. She stays at home and looks after Troy. She always seems a pleasant enough girl to me. When I've seen the baby he's always seemed well-fed, tidy ... when they go out he's well wrapped up. She goes out to her cleaning job every morning at 7.30am. She comes in the pub now and then."