The mother of a three-year-old boy who went missing in Eynesbury – before being discovered asleep in a kitchen cupboard – has thanked the police and community for orchestrating a huge search operation.
Mother-of-seven Becky Gumm, 32, said she was upstairs with one of the children while Jaden was playing downstairs and watching Fireman Sam. She described the heart-stopping moment she walked back into the room and he was nowhere to be seen.
“When I asked where he was, Charlie [her four-year-old son] held my hand and took me to the front door – I thought he had gone out,” Mrs Gumm told The Hunts Post.
“It was horrible, I looked everywhere around the house that I could think of and I double-checked everywhere. I phoned my mum to see if he had walked up to hers and she said ‘no’. I was going out of my head thinking all sorts: ‘Is he in the house or has someone taken him? Will we ever see him again, especially with the brook so close?’
Jaden went missing at around 3pm. After Mrs Gumm searched for him for about an hour with husband Andy, 48, her children, neighbours and friends, the police were called. Thirty officers and the police helicopter were sent to lead the search.
Mrs Gumm added: “We were hunting everywhere and there were lots of people helping – there were just so many, it was unbelievable.”
Jaden was discovered about three-and-a-half hours after he went missing. Mrs Gumm said she was talking to police in her kitchen when she checked in a cupboard underneath the sink and made the “fantastic” discovery.
Despite looking in the cupboard before, Jaden had snuggled under a pile of carrier bags, well out of sight.
“I thought ‘I’ll just have a look in here’ and he was in there asleep under all the bags,” said Mrs Gumm. “I didn’t quite believe that he had been under the kitchen sink asleep for three hours, he never sits still for that long. I was shocked and tearful – I still am a bit – but I’m getting there. I didn’t want to take him to nursery on Monday but I knew if I didn’t, I never would.
“The children were all brilliant, they were relieved when we found him and they had their tears. They were little superstars – they went out with everybody to help look. I’m proud of them.”
She added: “People I didn’t even know were out looking – it was lovely that they all did that. I’m very thankful to them all.”
A police spokesman said: “Our priority is always to protect and safeguard vulnerable people. We put a lot of resources into the search due to the potential risk to such a young child who was thought to have wandered out of his home.
“We were delighted to find him safe and well and reunite him with his concerned family.”