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Mikaeel Kular Disappearance: 'Mother Held' After Body Of A Child Found

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MIKAEL KULAR
A body was found shortly before midnight on Friday |

UPDATE: A 33-year-old woman has been arrested and charged in connection with the death of Mikaeel Kular

The latest from the Press Association:

A 33-year-old woman has been arrested and charged in connection with the death of three-year-old Edinburgh boy Mikaeel Kular and will appear in court on Monday, Police Scotland said tonight.

Sky News reports the woman in question is the mother of Mikaeel Kular. More to follow...

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.

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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."

A memorial service has been arranged at Muirhouse St Andrew's Church in Edinburgh at 7pm.

Robert Pearson, chairman of the Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse (TRIM) association, said all local residents are invited.

Mr Pearson said in a statement: "I, like everyone else in North Edinburgh, will be saddened to learn that police have found the body of a child in the search for Mikaeel. Over the last few days this community, as well as people from all over the country, has come together to search for him.

"Whilst it can be easy for us to all to jump to conclusions about what has happened, we need to remain calm and allow the police to continue with their investigation."

Mr Pearson thanked search volunteers and local businesses who provided torches and food during the hunt.

He said: "Sometime it takes something like this to bring people together. I have seen older people, young people, families and teenagers all giving up their time to search the entire area over the past two days.

"On reflection, I and everyone at TRIM are so proud of the community we all live in. Obviously as time went on we were all aware that the chances of a positive were diminishing but that never stopped us. People continued to turn at all times of the day and night to help, and everyone who got involved should be so proud of themselves."

People have begun leaving teddies and floral tributes on Dunvegan Avenue as well as outside the Kular family home.

Lisa Maxwell, 42, from nearby Skibo Place, laid flowers close to the bungalow at the centre of the police investigation.

The mother of two said: "I woke up today and my partner Stuart had a text saying the little boy had been found so I expected good news.

"But when I turned on the TV I realised it was not.

"When he was missing, and having young children myself, straight away I put myself in those shoes trying to imagine what it's like. I wanted to help, even though I'm not in the Edinburgh area."

The resident's boys aged 11 and four joined their mother near the cordoned-off road where she offered hot refreshments to police and others at the scene.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said: "This is a tragic development in this harrowing story and the news that we have all been dreading. The hearts of everyone across Scotland and beyond have been touched by the events of recent days.

"We should at this difficult time remember the work of the officers of Police Scotland who have responded to this difficult task and investigation and shown such professionalism and dedication.

"Above all the efforts and solidarity of the local community in Edinburgh should be applauded. In the most tragic of circumstances they volunteered to make their very best efforts to help this young child."

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "I would like to echo the First Minister's words and praise the excellent work done by Police Scotland who have worked tirelessly to find Mikaeel during this difficult and harrowing time.

"And I would also like to commend the residents of Edinburgh for the outstanding way in which they have supported the work of Police Scotland over recent days. I know that the police have greatly valued the assistance that has been provided by many members of the public who have helped with the search.

"The police investigation into this tragic matter continues over the next few days and anyone with information which might be relevant to the investigation should contact Police Scotland."