Fears are growing for a three-year-old boy who disappeared from his bed in the middle of the night.
Mikaeel Kular was feeling unwell when he was put to bed alone in his room at 9pm on Wednesday, wearing his grey and turquoise pyjamas.
When his mother went to wake him in the morning he had gone, along with his coat, gloves and shoes. Last night Mikaeel’s mother Rosie Kular, 33, a beauty therapist, was said to be “distraught” and being comforted by family at her home.
More than 70 police officers were searching fields, shrubbery, a golf course and neighbours’ homes for the child who went missing on a night when local temperatures fell to 2.3C (36F).
Helicopters used thermal imaging cameras to scan the countryside, lifeboats trawled a nearby coastline and 50 neighbours joined the effort as it again became bitterly cold.
A Child Rescue Alert has also been sent out to all forces in the UK, which is used only in “exceptional circumstances” and usually when abduction is feared.
Mikaeel lives with his mother, twin sister Ashika and three older siblings in a first-floor flat on an estate in the north of Edinburgh. His father, of Pakistani origin, has never met the boy but is said to be helping police with their inquiries.
Officers are also thought to have spoken to Miss Kular’s former husband Omotoso Adekoya, 36, a Nigerian taxi driver.
Mikaeel usually shares a room with his twin but on the night of his disappearance he was apparently feeling unwell so she slept in another room. His mother reported him missing at 7.15am on Thursday after she could not find him in the apartment and realised some of his clothes had also gone. One line of inquiry is that he got up in the middle of the night, dressed himself and managed to get out of the flat and wander off on his own.
Neighbours, however, said it was unlikely he would have been able to open a very heavy door to the block. One is said to have seen a car speeding from the area at 6am with no lights on, just over an hour before he was reported missing.
Officers said there was not yet any evidence that criminal offences had been committed but added: “Anything is possible.” Forensic tests were carried out at Mikaeel’s home and neighbouring properties.
Mikaeel, who has never gone missing before, is described as 2ft tall, slim, with a small scar on his nose and a sore on the left corner of his mouth.
Police Scotland superintendent Liz McAnish said no lines of inquiry had been ruled out. “We are talking to all the key family members,” she said. “His mother has said it would be possible for him to go out of the house. He can dress himself.
“At the moment we still have no evidence at all of any criminality. There have been no arrests. There have been no formal detentions but several people are assisting us with our inquiries.”
Asked whether there were any custody issues with the family, she said: “We are following all lines of inquiry with all partner agencies and the family are being very helpful. Our concern is the passing of time. I would ask people in the locality to please continue searching in your personal properties – anywhere a three-year-old boy might seek shelter. It’s getting dark, it’s getting colder, please help us.” Mikaeel attends a local nursery, where he is described as “a friendly, playful wee boy”.
Frank Arthur, 72, who lives in the flat above the Kular family, said: “I don’t think the boy could have got out by himself. It’s a heavy door. You push a button and then it whistles so you open the door. It’s quite a lot for a three-year-old, to be pulling the door open.”
Miss Kular, a dance music fan, described herself on an online profile as “just me, myself and I ...oh yeah, with a brood of five monsters, six if you count the man indoors!”
A former neighbour claimed the children may have once been left alone at home when Miss Kular’s former husband was due to pick them up for the day.
Patricia Kilpatrick, 72, said: “He had come to take the kids on a Sunday but he couldn’t get them from inside the house.
“She had gone out for the night and hadn’t come home so they were there in the house by themselves. Soon after that the police arrived to sort out everything.”
Anyone with information on the child’s disappearance should call 0300 200 0200. - Daily Mail