Boy’s touching reunion with parents
A three-year-old boy who sparked a frantic search when he went missing for almost 12 hours in Western Australia has shared a cuddle with his parents in hospital during their reunion.
James 'Jimmy' O'Reilly disappeared while playing with dogs outside an Airbnb property in Yallingup, about 250km south of Perth, around 7.30am on Saturday.
"His mother noticed he was missing when she went out to check on him," Inspector Martin Voyez said.
"She made a thorough check of the area but could not find him."
He described the weather conditions as "appalling" including heavy rain and hail.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, it was between 8C and 13C in the area on Saturday with subzero "feels like" temperatures recorded at nearby Cape Naturaliste weather station.
Among the search tactics, a drone was used with a prerecorded message from the boy's mum telling him to follow the red and blue flashing lights back to the holiday home.
Jimmy had been wearing white Spider-Man pyjamas and wellington boots when he vanished.
That night, police announced he had been found "alive by a family member" in bushland - one kilometre from where he went missing in the Margaret River region.
Insp Voyez said the child was upset and "very hungry" but "fit and well".
WA Police said "given the time he has spent exposed to the rough terrain and poor weather conditions", arrangements would be made for him to have a medical check-up as a precaution.
He was taken to Busselton Hospital.
Before he was found, the boy's aunt had released a statement describing him as "very bright, curious and cheeky".
"(James is) very much loved by his mum, dad and little brother," she said.
"We are all hoping the little rat bag has just taken himself off for a little adventure. and he will be found safe and sound soon."
Sergeant Luke Fowler told the ABC the boy was discovered just before 7pm on Saturday by his grandpa and uncle.
"To see a child reunited with Mum and Dad, cuddled up together on the bed, it was just, look, you couldn't describe the sheer happiness that was on, especially Mum's face," he said.
"That's something I think I'll always remember.
"She was about as happy as I've seen anyone for a long time."
The West reported the family members had driven down from Perth to help look for the child.
Sergeant Fowler said it was a "fantastic result".
Originally published as Boy's touching reunion with parents