Pictured: Little boy, two, still missing after falling into the River Soar as family call


The two-year-old boy still missing after falling into the River Soar has been pictured – as his family called him a ‘bundle of joy’ and said: ‘We just want him to be found.’

A search has been ongoing in the area near Aylestone in Leicestershire since Sunday afternoon after the toddler now identified as Xielo Maruziva was reported to have fallen into the water.

Emergency services initially called off the first night’s search four hours after he went missing but have ramped up efforts in subsequent days. 

Xielo’s family today described their son as a ‘cheeky, funny’ boy who is ‘a bundle of joy’ and have also thanked members of the community for their ongoing support.

His mother said: ‘Xielo is a cheeky, funny, friendly, smart, caring and independent little boy. He never fails to make me laugh or smile and always loves a cuddle and some kisses.

The boy, two, missing since Sunday in Leicestershire has been named as Xielo Maruziva

The boy, two, missing since Sunday in Leicestershire has been named as Xielo Maruziva

The search continues after Xielo was reported falling into the water last Sunday at about 5pm

The search continues after Xielo was reported falling into the water last Sunday at about 5pm

The River Soar near Aylestone Meadows in Leicestershire is still being scoured by divers

The River Soar near Aylestone Meadows in Leicestershire is still being scoured by divers

The search is taking place in the River Soar near Aylestone Meadows Local Nature Reserve

The search is taking place in the River Soar near Aylestone Meadows Local Nature Reserve

‘Xielo loves playing with his toys and watching cartoons including Bino and Fino.

‘Me, his dad and the whole family are so heartbroken at what has happened. We thank everyone who has supported us and helped us during this time. We are extremely grateful for this.

‘All we want is for Xielo to be found as soon as possible. Thank you.’

Xielo’s father added: ‘Xielo is a bundle of joy to us. He is a charming and creative little boy and has just started at nursery. He loves cuddles, playing with his toys and going to the park.

‘As a family we have been completely devastated over the past few days as the search for Xielo continues. It is hard to describe the pain and suffering we are going through.

‘We would like to thank the search teams at the scene. We would also like to thank members of the public for all of your support. It is your prayers which are keeping us strong.

‘We kindly ask that people wait for updates through the authorities in relation to the search as we continue to be overwhelmed with enquiries and messages at this time.

‘Thank you all for your ongoing love and support.’

Police have raised concerns about rescue efforts being hampered by rising tides, as the Environment Agency issued a flood warning for the Upper Soar catchment area. 

The Environment Agency has issued a flood warning for the Upper Soar catchment area

The Environment Agency has issued a flood warning for the Upper Soar catchment area

Sniffer dogs have been added to the operation carried out in and beside the River Soar

Sniffer dogs have been added to the operation carried out in and beside the River Soar

A police helicopter was sighted searching the river near Braunstone, Leicestershire, at about 5.40pm on Sunday - and it was later replaced by a drone

A police helicopter was sighted searching the river near Braunstone, Leicestershire, at about 5.40pm on Sunday – and it was later replaced by a drone

The helicopter returned at 6.40pm after refuelling and was seen lighting up the search area

The helicopter returned at 6.40pm after refuelling and was seen lighting up the search area

Police and fire crews initially called off their hunt for the child on Sunday at about 9.30pm

Police and fire crews initially called off their hunt for the child on Sunday at about 9.30pm

Extra resources have been sent to the scene near Aylestone and Braunstone this week

Extra resources have been sent to the scene near Aylestone and Braunstone this week

Police earlier this week revealed how the boy’s father had jumped into the river to try to save him, police confirmed today, as officers vowed: ‘We will bring him home.’

The parent was taken to hospital as a ‘precautionary measure’ after going into the water to try to save him but was later discharged. 

Drones, helicopters and specialist divers have been involved in the ongoing search, as well as back-up officers and resources have arrived from other forces including Lincolnshire Police, Nottinghamshire Police and London’s Metropolitan Police.

Officers have said they wanted to get in touch with a dog walker who was in the area at the time the toddler was swept away. 

And they yesterday revealed they possessed CCTV of the tragedy and had brought in sniffer dogs to help. 

Kent and West Mercia Police Search and Rescue team and Metropolitan Police Marine Recovery dogs joined the operation.

The Environmental Agency has also been providing support with specialist mapping equipment to help identify key search areas.

Leicestershire Police’s assistant chief constable Michaela Kerr told a press conference that ‘recovering that little boy and making sure that the family are well supported’ is the force’s ‘number one priority.’ 

Leicestershire Police assistant chief constable Michaela Kerr has insisted she is 'confident' her officers will find Xielo as searches go on

Leicestershire Police assistant chief constable Michaela Kerr has insisted she is ‘confident’ her officers will find Xielo as searches go on

Leicestershire Police have said returning the boy to his family was their 'absolute priority'

Leicestershire Police have said returning the boy to his family was their ‘absolute priority’

A police diver is seen preparing to re-enter the water on the fourth day of searches

A police diver is seen preparing to re-enter the water on the fourth day of searches

Specialist mapping equipment to help identify key search areas is being examined by crews

Specialist mapping equipment to help identify key search areas is being examined by crews

Michaela Kerr said her police force had 'all the specialist resources we would possibly want'

Michaela Kerr said her police force had ‘all the specialist resources we would possibly want’

The force is asking members of the public to stay away from the scene due to safety concerns due to rising water levels.

A long-standing resident whose home overlooks Aylestone Meadows said flooding from the River Soar in recent weeks had left parts of the nature reserve in a treacherous state. 

She described recent river conditions as ‘quite bad’ and very ‘fast-flowing’. 

Xielo’s family are understood to be local to the area. 

Officers have asked for anyone who spoke to them on Sunday to come forward again as they seek to confirm witnesses’ identities and contact details.

A force spokesperson previously told MailOnline on Monday morning: ‘The fire service came away at half past nine last night but police officers remained in the vicinity and were monitoring any information coming in and resources were ready to go out and respond if needed.’ 

Further information regarding the ongoing search can be found here on the Leicestershire Police website.



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