A body has been found and a person detained in connection with the disappearance of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular, police said today. Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham of Police Scotland said the body of a young boy was recovered in Fife shortly before midnight.
The family of Mikaeel, from Edinburgh, has been informed and the investigation continues, he added.
Mikaeel disappeared after he was put to bed by his mother at their home in Ferry Gait Crescent at 9pm on Wednesday. Hundreds of volunteers from the local community joined emergency services in the search for the missing boy.
Mr Graham said today: "The investigation into the disappearance of Mikaeel Kular has been wide ranging and fast moving. As a result of these inquiries I can confirm that we have recovered the body of a young boy in Fife shortly before midnight. We have informed the family and the investigation continues.
"A person has been detained in connection with the death. I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has shown such a fantastic response to the incident in terms of assisting the police with searches and in terms of our appeals for information and coming forward to assist with information.
"Without such vital assistance the police cannot do their job assisting those who live and work in our communities. As a result of this development clearly there will now be no requirement for any further help in relation to searches in the Drylaw area."
The body was found in Fife, a region north of Edinburgh across the Firth of Forth, but police have not disclosed where in the area the discovery was made. The body is being left in situ for forensic and scenes-of-crime officers to carry out investigations, Sky News said, and would not be removed before morning.
Mikaeel's disappearance was discovered by his mother, named locally as Rosdeep Kular, 33, after she went to check on him at 7.15am on Thursday, 10 hours after she put him to bed. The little boy, who had two sisters and two brothers, usually slept in the same room as his twin sister but was alone on Wednesday night.
His jacket and shoes were missing and police were looking into whether he might have left of his own accord. Forensics officers were yesterday carrying out a search of the family home. Police also investigated a potential sighting of Mikaeel after a child matching his description was spotted in West Pilton Gardens, Edinburgh, at around 8.30am. The sighting was not confirmed as being Mikaeel.
It also emerged yesterday that he had not been seen at nursery since the Christmas break because he had been ill. Hundreds of police officers were involved in searches yesterday, and were joined by specialist search teams, mounted officers, dogs, other emergency services and local organisations.
More than 200 volunteers, from firefighters to mothers wheeling prams, also helped scour the foreshore of nearby Cramond. Denise Fergus, the mother of James Bulger, the two-year-old who was murdered in Liverpool in 1993, tweeted her condolences. She said on Twitter: "My heart is aching for that poor boy Mikaeel Kular brings it all back so sad."