The mother of missing three-year-old Mikaeel Kular has reportedly been detained by police after a child’s body was discovered.
Officers searching for the Edinburgh youngster found a body in Kirkcaldy, Fife shortly before midnight.
Residents of Dunvegan Avenue, around 25 miles from Mikaeel’s home, spoke of their shock at seeing police activity on their street this morning.
Investigators have cordoned off a bungalow which neighbours say is occupied by the sister of Mikaeel’s mother Rosdeep. A wooded area to the rear and side of the property has also been sealed off.
The 33-year-old was reportedly detained following the discovery of a child’s body. Police said a person has been held but did not confirm their identity.
A major search operation involving hundreds of officers and local residents was launched on Thursday morning when Ms Kular reported her son missing from the family home in Ferry Gait Crescent.
Olga Park, a retired nurse who lives opposite the bungalow in Kirkcaldy, said Mikaeel’s mother had lived there with her sister when she had the boy, who is a twin.
The resident, who has lived in the area for 30 years, said she saw Ms Kular arrive at the home on either Tuesday or Wednesday morning.
She said: “I’m just absolutely shocked about what’s happened.
“The fact he’s just a three-year-old boy is just terrible. The poor wee thing.”
Michael Woods, 53, who lives nearby at Floors Place, said he had been following the developing police investigation but was surprised to find officers at the end of his street.
“First it was in Edinburgh, then they said Fife, then Kirkcaldy and now it’s here almost on my doorstep. It’s unsettling,” he said.
“When I heard it was here I just about jumped off my chair.”
Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said last night: “As a result of enquiries the body of a young child was recovered in Fife just before midnight.
“We strongly believe this to be the body of Mikaeel.
“A person has been detained in connection with the recovery of the body and members of Mikaeel’s family have been informed of the recovery.
“Our thoughts and sympathies are with them at this time.”
Mr Graham thanked the more than 200 volunteers who turned out yesterday to help police scour the area.
Mother-of-five Ms Kular reported putting her son to bed at 9pm on Wednesday and said when she went to check on him at 7.15am his bed was empty.
His jacket and shoes were missing and police said he may have left of his own accord. Last night, almost 48 hours after Mikaeel went missing, they said they had “grave concerns” for his safety and that he may have been the victim of a crime.
Edinburgh MSP Colin Keir said the community was united in grief.
“It has been a huge bringing together of the community. In my time as a politician I have never experienced such a thing. This is completely unprecedented and unfortunately it has ended in such a tragedy,” he told Sky News.
“There was a number of us yesterday, along with several hundred of us who walked along the promenade checking and you could feel the concern. You had mothers and their babies in prams as part of this line as well as people up on the hill, the fire service, the police.”
A forensic team in white overalls was at work in the wooded area by Dunvegan Avenue.
Edinburgh MP Mike Crockart told Sky News: “It’s the worst possible tragic set of circumstances.
“There was still hope yesterday when many hundreds came out and were searching the foreshore down at Silverknowes.
“I know there were many hundreds more preparing to come out and continue that search today.
“They will all be very sad about the news this morning.”
Fife crime writer Val McDermid tweeted: “Bleak day for Kirkcaldy. Heartbreaking end to a short life.”