Yallingup missing boy: Police pledge to keep searching for James ‘Jimmy’ O’Reilly until he is found
Police have pledged to continue searching for a young toddler lost in Yallingup bushland until he is found, despite facing “appalling” conditions.
South West District Inspector Martin Voyez also revealed more details of the moment three-year-old James “Jimmy” O’Reilly went missing as he outlined the ongoing search plans.
He described the weather conditions in which the search had been conducted as “appalling”, and stressed things were likely to get worse into the night.
“The weather today has been appalling, with heavy rain and even hail at times. However, we will continue to search for little Jimmy until he's found,” he said.
“The terrain around the holiday home is very thick, dense bush and very difficult for people to walk through.”
Jimmy went missing just before 8am this morning, about 10 to 15 minutes after his mother let him out of their Yallingup Airbnb to play.
At the time, Jimmy's mum had been feeding her other child — a six-month old baby girl — inside the house.
The last time she saw him, Jimmy was playing with the family's two dogs while wearing his white Spider Man pyjamas and a tiny pair of dark blue Wellington boots.
“His mother noticed that he was missing when she went out to check on him. She made a thorough check of the area but could not find him,” Insp. Voyez said.
“Little Jimmy's mother then called police, and throughout the day police, SES and other volunteers have been searching tirelessly.
“The family, naturally, are devastated. They have all the support they need and are at this time being comforted by police and others including friends and family members who've travelled down from Perth to be with them.”
SES crews have been joined by the police air wing unit, which includes the helicopter and drone, local police forces, Busselton detectives, the canine section and mounted police from Perth.
“There are a large number of other volunteers also in attendance,” Insp. Voyez said.
This morning, neighbours were asked to search their own properties.
It is understood there are several dams, waterholes and even caves in the bushland surrounding the area.
The search, which has spanned almost 10 hours now and 10 square kilometres, is expected to continue into the night.
At nightfall, most crews will turn in, however, a “skeleton” crew is expected to remain on site — driving around the area with a large spotlight in the hopes of attracting Jimmy to it.
At first light, if Jimmy has still not been found, the search will resume in full.
“We will continue this evening and into the night, and as long as it takes to find little Jimmy,” Insp. Voyez said.
The West Australian was told the search for Jimmy was being treated solely as a missing persons case., and that there was nothing to indicate otherwise.
Neighbour Eamonn McGrath, who lives a mere hundred metres from where Jimmy vanished, said he woke up to the sound of screams this morning.
“The boy’s dad was yelling and yelling. ‘Jimmy! Jimmy!’ At first I thought he was calling his dogs, but then something changed in his voice, and he was screaming,” he said.
“He just kept screaming. I couldn’t see him but I could hear him.
“And the mum was just distraught.”
Mr McGrath was the first member of the public on scene and alerted the rest of the street.
Within half an hour a swathe of neighbours swarmed Karli Rise and began scouring dense bushland.
“It’s very strange. You can’t help but think about all the things that could be at play,” Mr McGrath said.
“It’s just weird. When he first disappeared I assumed it’d be just a short search and then he’d show up.
“But it’s been seven hours now, and it’s getting colder and wetter by the minute.”
The shaking voice of Jimmy’s mother can be heard ringing out across thick scrub less then 200m from the Airbnb home he vanished from this morning.
The heartbreaking pre-recorded message is being emitted by a police drone, telling Jimmy to follow the sound of her voice home.
“Hi James it’s mummy, if you see something flying in the air above you and it’s got flashing red and blue lights you need to follow it OK? Then you can find your way home...”
That’s the message being replayed over and over in Yallingup bushland, with fears it will soon be too dark for the ongoing search to continue in full.
In a statement, James’ aunt says her little nephew is a “very bright, curious and cheeky little boy” who is “very much loved by his mum, dad and little brother.”
The family is “still hoping he’s taken himself off on a little adventure and will be found safe and sound soon”.
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