Police investigating the disappearance of a three-year-old boy have said there is no evidence to suggest criminality but that they are “keeping on open mind”.
Mikaeel Kular was last seen going to bed at his family’s flat in Ferry Gait Crescent, Edinburgh, at around 9pm yesterday.
His mother discovered he was missing when she woke this morning and the toddler could not be found in the property.
Police Scotland superintendent Liz McAinsh said: “There is no evidence to suggest criminality at the moment but clearly we are keeping an open mind.
“We’re a big organisation now with Police Scotland and we are using all of the resources at our disposal to look for this three-year-old boy.”
Asked whether she thought Mikaeel may have left of his own accord, Ms McAinsh told reporters: ``We know that his jacket and shoes are not within the property so we are following up all lines of inquiry in that regard. We don't know if he may have left of his own volition , but obviously that's one line of inquiry we are following up.''
Asked whether there were any custody issues with the family, she told reporters: “Obviously we are following all lines of inquiry, there are no concerns that we have at the moment . We are following all lines of inquiry with all partner agencies and with the family and the family are being very helpful at the moment.
“As you can imagine, Mikaeel’s mother is distraught. She just wants our help and the public’s help in finding her little boy.”
Mikaeel, who is British with Asian parents, was at home with his mother and four siblings, including his twin sister, last night.
Ms McAinsh said police will be speaking to talk to all family members, including Mikaeel’s father.
The three-year-old attends a local nursery and Ms McAinsh said: “They say Mikaeel is a friendly, playful wee boy and they are obviously concerned for his safety as well and will do everything they can to help us in finding Mikaeel.”
Mikaeel's mother discovered he was missing from his bed at 7.15am today.
Ms McAinsh urged people in the area to keep an eye out for the boy and to look in their gardens, sheds and areas where a three-year-old might go.
She said: “We are focusing our search on the Pennywell area, the Muirhouse area of Drylaw in Edinburgh. We’re asking everybody who lives in that area or who travels through that area or works in that area to keep their eyes open for this wee boy.
“He is just a three-year-old so he won’t know his way about the local area. Anyone who sees him, we would ask them to immediately look after his safety and get in contact with the police.
“I would ask local residents to think about their own homes, gardens and outbuildings, their buckets, to have a look and see, anywhere you think a three-year-old boy might be to have a look for us, if you are out walking in the locality, and keep your eyes open in the parks as well.
“At this stage we’re keeping an open mind. We’re following up all lines of inquiry that we have.”
She added: “I’m not aware of any custody issues at the moment but there’s many lines of inquiry being followed and one of them will be to speak to Mikaeel’s father. We’re endeavouring to speak with all of the family members, obviously one of whom is Mikaeel’s father.”
Mikaeel’s brown shoes are from Clarks.
Ms McAinsh said the father is understood to be of Pakistani origin.
“It was his mum who has reported he was missing to us – she is obviously distraught,” she said.
“He has a wee three-year-old twin sister, so his wee twin is obviously going to be very concerned about where he is.”
She continued: “It must be awful. As a mother myself I just can’t imagine how I would feel if my wee boy went missing.
“Clearly, as everybody out there will be able to relate to, his mother is distraught and she’s trying to give us all the information she can to help us in our inquiry.
“We are providing her with all the support that we can through that experience and just trying as best we can with all the resources we have at our disposal to find him safe and well.
“That’s why I’m here appealing to the public to help us in that search to bring him home safe and well.”