Body found in search for toddler who fell into river months ago

Photo of Xielo Maruziva
-Credit: (Image: Leicestershire Police)

A body has been discovered in the search for two year old boy who tragically fell into a river. Officers have cordoned off part of the nature reserve at the River Soar in Leicester following the find.

Little Xielo Maruziva had been walking along the towpath at Marsden Lane, Aylestone Meadows, with his family on Sunday, February 18, when he accidentally fell into the water. It triggered an immediate and extensive search by the police, described as one of the most complex they have ever undertaken, reports Leicestershire Live.

Despite weeks of searching, there was no success and the operation was scaled back on Thursday, March 21. In a statement released this evening, the police said: "A body has been found in the search for two-year-old Xielo Maruziva, who fell into the River Soar on Sunday, February 18. The body was found earlier this morning (Thursday) following workers carrying out work in the area of Aylestone Meadows near the River Soar.

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"The body has been recovered and formal identification will now take place. Specialist officers are providing support to Xielo's family. HM Coroner has been informed."

Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr has extended her deepest sympathies, stating: "This is devastating news and our thoughts are with Xielo's family. We are so sorry to bring them this news which we were all dreading and our full support is being provided to them at this most difficult time. " She continued: "Formal identification will now take place and we ask that the family's privacy is respected at this time.

"Full support is also being provided to the workers who were in the area of Aylestone Meadows this morning and I want to thank them for their support and co-operation in the most horrendous and unimaginable circumstances." Adding further, ACC Kerr said: "Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the search for Xielo for your dedicated work in extremely traumatic circumstances and an extremely complex search. hank you also to our communities and wider members of the public for your continued support."

Timeline of the search for Xielo:

  • Timeline : Sunday, February 18 - a then unnamed two-year-old boy fell into the River Soar at Aylestone Meadows. A search was launched by emergency services.

  • Monday, February 19 - multiple specialist teams from police forces across the country join the search

  • Wednesday, February 21 - Xielo Maruziva is named as the boy who fell into the water. His family call him a “bundle of joy”.

  • Friday, February 23 - Police vow to continue the search over the weekend.

  • Monday, February 26 - Following calls from Xielo’s family, police announced that a private search team which helped to look for Nicola Bulley will be joining the operation. Police also confirm that the search area had been widened to include the River Soar around Watermead Park and Birstall.

  • Tuesday, February 27 - Search Group International (SGI) joins the search and is seen in Aylestone Meadows

  • Thursday, February 29 - SGI team members spotted in the River Soar close to the King Power Stadium

  • Friday, March 1 - the search continues

  • Sunday, March 10 - the search reaches three weeks to the day since Xielo Thursday, March 21 - the search for Xielo is scaled back

  • Wednesday, June 6 - police searching for Xielo recover a body from the River Soar, close to where the toddler fell into the water

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