Body found in search for boy, 2, who fell in river

Body found in search for boy, 2, who fell in river

1 hour agoAsha Patel,BBC News, East MidlandsBBCXielo Maruziva fell into the river in February

A body has been found in the search for a two-year-old boy who fell into a river in Leicester.

Xielo Maruziva entered the water while with his family on 18 February, prompting a major search operation involving specialist teams.

Leicestershire Police said a body was found on Thursday morning after workers had been in the area of Aylestone Meadows, near the River Soar.

The body was recovered and formal identification will now take place, the force said.

More than 200 police officers were said to have been involved with the search for Xielo, with specialist teams of divers and other organisations involved.

Despite their efforts the two-year-old was not found and the operation was scaled down about one month later.

A large cordon was placed around Aylestone Meadows in Leicester on Thursday

Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr said: “This is devastating news and our thoughts are with Xielo’s family.

“We are so sorry to bring them this news which we were all dreading and our full support is being provided to them at this most difficult time.”

The force said it had informed the coroner and asked for privacy for Xielo’s family.

Support is also being provided to the workers involved in the find, ACC Kerr added.

In a previous statement, Xielo’s mother described him as a “cheeky, funny, friendly, smart, caring and independent little boy”.

Xielo’s father, who said his son “loved cuddles, playing with his toys and going to the park”, had entered the water the day he went missing in an attempt to rescue him.

PA MediaRiver levels at the time of the initial search were high due to flooding

The search for the two-year-old boy was made “challenging” by poor weather conditions, police said at the time.

Specialist Group International (SGI), a private diving company that helped to look for Nicola Bulley who disappeared in Lancashire in 2023, joined police in the search as it entered its second week, following “liaison with his family”.

The search area was also widened across the River Soar in Leicester over concerns Xielo could have travelled outside of the Aylestone Meadows area.

Numerous witnesses who had been in the area in the moments after the two-year-old disappeared said the river had a “powerful” current.

Officers urged the public to avoid entering the water or attempt to carry out their own searches.

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