"Hold your kids close": Toddler missing for three days found alive in the Australian bush
The three-year-old boy was missing for three days.
A missing toddler has been found alive and well in the Australian bush.
The young boy had been missing for three days.
Three-year-old Anthony "AJ" Elfalak disappeared from his family's home in the rural area of Putty on September 3.
The young boy was found drinking water by a creek in the woodlands.
He was only half a kilometre from his home, reports state.
He had some minor ailments including scrapes and nappy rash but is doing well.
Police confirmed AJ is non-verbal and autistic.
Emergency services and local volunteers carried out an extensive search for the toddler.
— Adella Beaini (@adellabeaini) September 6, 2021
Aviation support service PolAir located AJ on Monday morning. They then guided the search team on the ground to the boy.
The boy's father was overwhelmed with joy when his son was located.
He told Seven News: "It's a miracle. He's alive. It's amazing. I've been in the bush for four days, I haven't slept."
Police Superindentent Tracy Chapman said her team was relieved to find AJ safe and sound.
She said at a press conference: "Obviously after three days, you know, desperate to find him, desperate to get an outcome such as this, so certainly standing here today, it's a good news story."
She believes being so close to water gave AJ the "opportunity to survive".
AJ's family issued a statement shortly after he was rescued.
They praised the emergency services who helped them find their son.
— NSW Police Force (@nswpolice) September 6, 2021
"Our family is together again. For that, we are grateful to everyone who has assisted in any way over the last three days.
"Thank you to the NSW Police, Rescue Services, volunteers, community members, friends, and family who have worked tirelessly to find AJ. AJ is fine.
They added: "Hold your kids close."
The family still doesn't know how AJ ended up in the Australian bush. They previously claimed he was abducted.
It is believed there was a suspicious car near the family home before AJ disappeared.
A family friend told Seven News: “How did he leave? Who did he leave with? Did anything sinister happen? We will not stop until we find the truth."