Mikaeel Kular search: Police issue nationwide alert for missing three-year-old Edinburgh boy who vanished in the night

Three-year-old Mikaeel Kular was last seen as his mother put him to bed – by Thursday morning he had gone. Jonathan Brown reports from Edinburgh on the local search and a nationwide alert

Mikaeel Kular normally shared a room with his twin sister. On Wednesday night, at around 9pm, his mother put him into his favourite dinosaur pyjamas and tucked him into bed alone because he was feeling unwell, his family said. When she went to rouse him at 7.15am today, he was gone, along with his coat and shoes.

What must be the worst conceivable nightmare of every parent had become horrifyingly true for the Kular family, as police issued a nationwide alert last night amid mounting fears for the welfare of the missing toddler.

At the centre of the investigation is how a three-year-old child, small for his age, who has never gone missing before and who is described as a "friendly, playful wee boy", apparently managed to dress himself and walk out of the flat in a block on a modern housing estate  - opening heavy security and fire doors as he went.

Dozens of friends and neighbours of the family spent the day alongside police with sniffer dogs searching gardens, outbuildings, wheelie bins and open spaces near the family home that the toddler shared with his mother Rosdeep, 33, and four siblings in the Drylaw area of Edinburgh.

White-suited forensic teams examined the flat and surrounding area for traces of the missing youngster.

As darkness fell on another cold winter night in the Scottish capital, the search for the boy was being extended to the Firth of Forth, where lifeboats were scouring the shoreline.

Police said that Mikaeel, who is of British-Pakistani origin, may have still been in his pyjamas, which are embroidered with a distinctive turquoise dinosaur.

 

Detectives said that they were pursuing all possible lines of inquiry but added that they had "no evidence of criminal activity".

Superintendent Liz McAinsh of Police Scotland, who is leading the hunt, said that all "key" members of the family, including Mikaeel's Pakistani-born father, had been spoken to, and that no arrests had been made.

She added that there were no formal suspects because there was no evidence of wrongdoing and the boy's disappearance was being treated as a missing-person inquiry. A number of individuals, however, were assisting police as events unfolded, during a tense day.

"As you can imagine, Mikaeel's mother is distraught. She just wants our help and the public's help in finding her little boy," said Ms McAinsh.

She added that she had been assured by the boy's mother that he was capable of dressing himself and that he could get in and out of the property on his own.

"Three-year-old children are quite resilient and they have quite a great deal of strength and the ability to open doors, and I'm assured that Mikaeel is capable of doing that," Ms McAinsh added.

It is believed that no one else had access to the flat during the night, police said.

A hotline number - part of the nationwide Child Rescue Alert scheme - was established this afternoon so that anyone who believes they may have seen Mikaeel can get in touch. People returning home from work in the Pennywell, Muirhouse, Cramond and Drylaw areas of the city were urged to search any crevice or corner where a disorientated and hungry three-year-old might seek shelter and warmth.

It is believed Mikaeel was wearing a beige hooded jacket, blue jogging bottoms, and brown Clarks shoes, as well as the distinctive nightwear. He also has a faded scar on the bridge of his nose and a sore on the left hand side of his mouth, police said.

Neighbours living close to the family were alerted to his disappearance shortly after 7am, when the boy's mother found him gone from his bed and not in the flat.

Officers began knocking on doors asking if anyone had seen him.

Police Scotland issued a media plea for help shortly before 10am, by which time the hunt included dozens of officers engaged in house-to-house inquiries, and an air support unit.

A photograph tweeted by the national force showed the smiling, short-haired youngster with another child's arm around him, and this picture soon dominated the rolling news channels.

A police press conference revealed more details of the harrowing moments when Mikaeel was found to be  missing.

It emerged that the boy's mother and four siblings had been at the flat overnight.

By this time, local people were gathering at a community centre where they were being briefed by officers on where to search.

Dog walkers and local parents were sent to scour the area, with some searching nearby golf courses.

Police are searching for three-year-old Mikael Kular who was last seen in his bed at home in Edinburgh, on Wednesday evening. Police are searching for three-year-old Mikaeel Kular who was last seen in his bed at home in Edinburgh, on Wednesday evening.  

Robert Pearson, chairman of a local residents' group, led a team of seven searchers. He said the mood among volunteers was growing "quite desperate" as daylight hours began to dwindle.

Linda Slattie, 52, a neighbour, said: "We were out this morning looking, down to Muirhouse Park, the community centre, looking in bushes and lock-ups and things like that.

"I've been very shocked. It could be any one of our kids."

In the House of Commons, Edinburgh MPs expressed their hopes that the child would be found soon. The Liberal Democrat Mike Crockart  said: "My thoughts particularly are with the family in my constituency where a three-year-old went missing from his home overnight last night and I know we all fervently hope for Mikaeel Kular's safe return as soon as is possible."

Amid mounting speculation before lunchtime, a man was arrested in the city's Waterfront Gait in the Muirhouse area, and a property a mile from the family home was searched. However, this was later said to be unconnected with the boy's disappearance. Meanwhile, as the family's block was sealed off behind police tape, the desperate search continued into the night.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week