Relief as family reunited with missing toddler

It is the picture that tells a thousand words. The relief and anguish is written all over his face as he clutches his tiny son to his chest.

Brian O'Shea with his son Torben, who had gone missing in a wooded area near Sindal, Denmark, where his mother's family lives. Picture: Rene Schutze

Dubliner Brian O’Shea, still mourning the loss of three of his children who were killed in a car crash last year, had just been reunited with 18-month-old son Torben, who had been missing for seven hours overnight in a wooded area.

He is now recovering in his grandfather’s home in northern Denmark unharmed by the events.

Torben, the only surviving child of Maria and Brian O’Shea, wandered off while out for a walk with his parents on Saturday.

The O’Sheas, who live in Australia, were visiting Maria’s family who live near Sindal, Denmark.

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the death of Torben’s three siblings — brother Soren, 11, Saoirse, 9, and Connor, 3.

The children, niece and nephews of chef Kevin Dundon, died when a speeding driver ploughed into their car near Maria’s family home.

Torben, who miraculously survived the car accident with minor injuries, was lucky again after being found alive and uninjured in the wood in the early hours of Sunday morning by his father.

Police had earlier scrambled a dog team and two helicopters with infra-red cameras to find the little boy, who was wearing just dungarees and a T-shirt.

His frantic father discovered the frightened and shivering boy curled up beside a path in the wood in the early hours the next morning — seven hours after he was first reported missing.

His parents alerted the police when they could not find him — at he time, both had believed the child was with the other.

Mr O’Shea, from Dalkey, Dublin, said they had friends over from Ireland and were out picking berries at about 9.30pm when Torben got separated from the group.

When night fell, the O’Sheas were told to go home and wait.

At first light at around 4am, Mr O’Shea could no longer sit around and had gone out to look for his son. He was heading down from a ridge when he spotted a little patch of blue among the trees — it was Torben lying face down in the foetal position.

Mr O’Shea found his son was shocked and cold but otherwise uninjured.

“I lifted him up and felt his body heat. I knew he was OK. He cried for five seconds and put his head on my chest. I knew I had him back,” he said.

“I asked his brothers and sisters to help find him, They came through for us. We are just so glad to have him back.”

The O’Sheas founded a charity in memory of their deceased children called The Three Musketeers Children’s Fund.

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