River Soar missing boy: Body found in search for toddler Xielo Maruziva who fell into water in Aylestone Meadows in Leicester

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


A body has been found in the search for missing two-year-old Xielo Maruziva, who fell into the River Soar at Aylestone Meadows in Leicester. A large police presence is at the nature reserve this afternoon, with cordons preventing people from getting to an extensive area of the meadows, including Pebble Beach.

Xielo had been walking along the towpath of the River Soar at Marsden Lane with his family on Sunday, February 18, when he fell into the water. It prompted the launch of an urgent search by police, described at the time as being among the most complex police have ever faced. The search continued for several weeks, without success. It was scaled back on Thursday, March 21.

Police said in a statement this evening: "A body has been found in the search for two-year-old Xielo Maruziva, who fell into the River Soar on Sunday, 18 February. The body was found earlier this morning (Thursday) following workers carrying out work in the area of Aylestone Meadows near the River Soar.

"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 said: “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.

“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.”

ACC Kerr added: “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. Thank you also to our communities and wider members of the public for your continued support.”

We are bringing you updates on this story as they happen. For the latest, see our story here.

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