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Pictured: 'Cheeky' boy, 2, missing after falling into river in Leicester

A two-year-old boy missing after falling into the River Soar in Leicester has been named by police.

Xielo Maruziva was reported to have fallen into the water at the Aylestone Meadows near to Marsden Lane on Sunday.

Officers confirmed on Tuesday that CCTV footage had been recovered showing the moment the two-year-old, who was with family members, fell into the fast-flowing river, which had burst its banks in parts of the nature reserve.

Specialist police divers were on Wednesday continuing their third full day of searches for the youngster, despite difficult conditions caused by heavy rainfall.Xielo’s parents described their son as a “cheeky, funny” boy who is “a bundle of joy” in a statement released through police.

Xielo Maruziva was reported to have fallen into the water at the Aylestone Meadows near to Marsden Lane on Sunday (Leicestershire Police)
Xielo Maruziva was reported to have fallen into the water at the Aylestone Meadows near to Marsden Lane on Sunday (Leicestershire Police)

His mother said: “Xielo is a cheeky, funny, friendly, smart, caring and independent little boy. He never fails to make me laugh or smile and always loves a cuddle and some kisses.

“Xielo loves playing with his toys and watching cartoons including Bino and Fino.

“Me, his dad and the whole family are so heartbroken at what has happened. We thank everyone who has supported us and helped us during this time. We are extremely grateful for this.

“All we want is for Xielo to be found as soon as possible. Thank you.”

The boy was with family members when he fell into the fast-flowing River Soar in Leicester on Sunday (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)
The boy was with family members when he fell into the fast-flowing River Soar in Leicester on Sunday (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)

Xielo’s father added: “Xielo is a bundle of joy to us.

“He is a charming and creative little boy and has just started at nursery. He loves cuddles, playing with his toys and going to the park.

“As a family we have been completely devastated over the past few days as the search for Xielo continues. It is hard to describe the pain and suffering we are going through.

“We would like to thank the search teams at the scene. We would also like to thank members of the public for all of your support. It is your prayers which are keeping us strong.

“We kindly ask that people wait for updates through the authorities in relation to the search as we continue to be overwhelmed with enquiries and messages at this time.

“Thank you all for your ongoing love and support.”

Leicestershire Police has received a large number of responses to an appeal for witnesses.

The boy had been with family when he fell into the water in the Aylestone Meadows area (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)
The boy had been with family when he fell into the water in the Aylestone Meadows area (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)

In a statement, Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr said: "As we now enter the fourth day of the search for the missing boy, we have been truly overwhelmed by the support we have received from forces and other agencies across the country as well as from our communities and the wider public.

"The priority for us all remains to find this little boy and we are grateful for all of your help and support.

"Specialist officers continue to provide full support to the family and our thoughts very much remain with them. I thank them for their bravery, their support and co-operation with us at this extremely traumatic time.

"I would also like to add that following the appeal we issued on Monday evening for witnesses, we have had a large number of responses and have identified a number of people who were in the area at the time who have provided us with information."

Ms Kerr added: "While the weather conditions today do make the search more difficult for us, this will absolutely not stop our dedicated and specialist teams at the scene from doing everything they can.

"Our search operation today does very much remain ongoing."