Underwater experts involved in Nicola Bulley case to join search for two-year-old boy

todayFebruary 27, 2024 3

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Underwater experts involved in Nicola Bulley case to join search for two-year-old boy

Underwater experts who supported the search for Nicola Bulley will join the operation to find a two-year-old boy who fell into a river in Leicester, police have said.

Xielo Maruziva fell into the River Soar on 18 February at around 5pm while out with his family in the area of Aylestone Meadows, on the outskirts of Leicester.

His father went into the water and attempted to rescue him, and police later launched a large search operation.

However, Xielo is yet to be found as the search has entered its second week.

From Tuesday, experts from private company Specialist Group International (SGI) will join the operation after “further conversations with search specialists and Xielo’s family”.

The same experts were involved in the search of the River Wyre in Lancashire last year after the disappearance of mother-of-two Ms Bulley, whose body was found more than three weeks after her disappearance on 27 January 2023.

Undated handout file photo issued by Lancashire Police of Nicola Bulley. Ms Bulley, 45, vanished after dropping her daughters, aged six and nine, at school, then taking her usual dog walk along the River Wyre in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, on January 27. Issue date: Tuesday November 21, 2023.

Nicola Bulley’s body was found in the River Wyre. Pic: Lancashire Police

Following the search for Ms Bulley, a report from the College of Policing claimed the behaviour of the chief executive at SGI “caused challenges” to the search.

It said Peter Faulding, who led the team of underwater experts, “had a significant impact on the investigation and public confidence through his activities and his engagement with the media”.

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Speaking to Sky News in November, Mr Faulding maintained that he found Ms Bulley’s body before police did.

After being taken off a list of police experts, Mr Faulding said he had been removed “for no reason”, his reputation had been “damaged” and that if police had used the right expertise earlier, Ms Bulley could have been found sooner.

The search operation continues for Xielo Maruziva.
Pic: PA

The search operation continues for Xielo Maruziva. Pic: PA

It is unclear whether Mr Faulding will be directly involved in the search for Xielo, but he remains in his role as chief executive of SGI, according to LinkedIn.

Michaela Kerr, assistant chief constable at Leicestershire Police, said of the continuing search: “We’re in regular contact with Xielo’s family and are continuing to support them in what remains a very upsetting time.

The search operation continues for Xielo Maruziva.
Pic: PA

Pic: PA

“Our search operation to locate Xielo continues to widen as we know he may have travelled further from where he went into the water, and potentially outside our force area.”

She added: “Our decision to involve SGI in the search (is) in liaison with Xielo’s family and having spoken to both the company and independent specialists.”

Last week, Xielo’s parents described their son as a “cheeky, funny” boy who is “a bundle of joy”.

Written by: Newsroom

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