Police hunt for parents after child found dead on beach

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Police were searching a Welsh coastal resort last night for the parents of a two-year-old boy whose body was discovered in a rockpool on a secluded beach.

Police were searching a Welsh coastal resort last night for the parents of a two-year-old boy whose body was discovered in a rockpool on a secluded beach.

The body of the boy, of African or Caribbean origin, was found at 10.30am yesterday by two people walking on the beach at Coppet Hall Point in Pembrokeshire. A coastguard earlier reported seeing a baby buggy near by, which had prompted fears that the child had been swept out to sea in a receding tide.

Police said that an initial assessment of the partially clad body suggested the boy had drowned in the 24 hours before he was discovered.

The idyllic holiday atmosphere of Coppet Hall, between Tenby and Saundersfoot, was shattered by the discovery. Scores of officers combed the beach and a helicopter buzzed along the coastline in search of the boy's parents. A hearse departed along the narrow slip road carrying the boy's body, which was due for a post mortem examination last night.

The beach, which can be reached with a few minutes' walk along the Pembrokeshire National Park coastal path, was sealed off and searched for clues. Police said they were treating the death as suspicious and officers were scouring caravan parks, hotels and pubs in the holiday resort.

Bob Jeynes, landlord of the Coppet Hall Beach Hotel, which is only 150 yards from the spot where the body was found, said that a woman had come into the bar at 11.30pm on Monday night asking if anyone had seen her son. The woman, described as white, with dark hair and an English accent, also visited a local café, according to Mr Jeynes.

He added: "The baby found was described as Afro-Caribbean but she wasn't. It might be nothing to do with it but she looked quite concerned. It wasn't a busy day so it's not the sort of thing you would have expected. It's a terrible thing to have happened. Everyone's shocked."

After the body was found, the Tenby coastguard scrambled helicopters to search the coastline around Saundersfoot for signs of the boy's parents. The helicopters were grounded at 4pm while police and coastguards discussed their next move. Detectives were expected to turn their attention to the dozens of holiday parks and caravan sites in the area.

A barmaid living near by in Amroth said: "It sounds horrendous. We're all just surmising. Was the baby abandoned? Did the parents get into difficulty in the water? There have been helicopters back and forth all day. None of us know what has happened. It's just terrible."

Trevor Turner, 50, a holidaymaker, said: "It's shocking to think that this poor little soul was left all alone like that so close to where people were carrying on enjoying their holidays.

"You come to a place like this for a little piece of heaven where you can escape all the terrible things in life – and then this happens on your doorstep."

A spokesman for Dyfed Powys Police said: "We are keeping an open mind about what has happened but we are making inquiries to determine the child's identity. We do not know how long the child was on the beach." Detective Chief Inspector Mel Evans added: "We are treating this as a suspicious death."