Nicola Bulley expert diver joins search for missing toddler Xielo Maruziva

Nicola Bulley expert diver joins search for missing toddler Xielo Maruziva
Caption: Nicola Bulley’s dive experts join search for missing toddler
credit: SWNS

Xielo Maruziva fell into the River Soar while out with his family in Aylestone Meadows on February 18.

His dad leapt into the water in a desperate bid to save the youngster but he has yet to be found and the search for the him is now in its second week.

Leicestershire Police has so far been supported by specialist diving teams from neighbouring forces, but from today experts from Specialist Group International (SGI) will join the operation.

SGI is a private company which was involved in the search for Nicola Bulley in the River Wyre in Lancashire last year.

Police said they have been called in after ‘further conversations with search specialists and Xielo’s family’.

Xielo Maruziva who went missing in a river. See SWNS story SWTPriver. Nicola Bulley diver Peter Faulding says police are refusing to let him help search for a two-year-old boy missing in a river - despite being asked by the family to do so. The 61-year-old diving 'expert' said he was called in by relatives of two-year-old Xielo Maruziva who has still not been found a week after he fell into the River Soar. He previously led the private search for Nicola, 45, after she disappeared while walking her dog in St Michael?s on Wyre, Lancs., on January 27 last year. But according to Xielo?s grandmother, Kayela Smith, Leicestershire Police have ?refused? the help - and Peter says his efforts to assist have been ?ignored?.
Xielo Maruziva went missing after he fell into the River Soar (Picture: Leicestershire Police/SWNS)

FILE PHOTO. Police search for a missing 3-year-old in the river Soar Leicester. February 19 2024. See SWNS story SWTPriver. Nicola Bulley diver Peter Faulding says police are refusing to let him help search for a two-year-old boy missing in a river - despite being asked by the family to do so. The 61-year-old diving 'expert' said he was called in by relatives of two-year-old Xielo Maruziva who has still not been found a week after he fell into the River Soar. He previously led the private search for Nicola, 45, after she disappeared while walking her dog in St Michael???s on Wyre, Lancs., on January 27 last year. But according to Xielo???s grandmother, Kayela Smith, Leicestershire Police have ???refused??? the help - and Peter says his efforts to assist have been ???ignored???.
The focus of the search was on the stretch of river around Watermead Park and Birstall over the weekend (Picture: Tom Maddick/SWNS)

Following the search for Ms Bulley, a review of the police’s handling of the investigation found that some of the behaviour and activities of SGI’s CEO Peter Faulding ‘caused challenges’.

In an interview posted on YouTube, Mr Faulding insisted he found Ms Bulley’s body within six minutes of starting his search.

But head of the College of Policing Andy Marsh questioned the ‘credibility’ of those claims, telling journalists the area was searched three times before two independent experts concluded an object detected by SGI was ‘unlikely’ to be a body.

Mr Faulding was later taken off a list of police experts, a decision he said was made ‘for no reason’ which had ‘damaged’ his reputation.

FILE PHOTO. Diving expert Peter Faulding. See SWNS story SWTPriver. Nicola Bulley diver Peter Faulding says police are refusing to let him help search for a two-year-old boy missing in a river - despite being asked by the family to do so. The 61-year-old diving 'expert' said he was called in by relatives of two-year-old Xielo Maruziva who has still not been found a week after he fell into the River Soar. He previously led the private search for Nicola, 45, after she disappeared while walking her dog in St Michael???s on Wyre, Lancs., on January 27 last year. But according to Xielo???s grandmother, Kayela Smith, Leicestershire Police have ???refused??? the help - and Peter says his efforts to assist have been ???ignored???.
Diving expert Peter Faulding (Picture: Tom Maddick/SWNS)

Leicestershire Police Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr said: ‘We continue to be grateful to the support we’ve been shown by the public and colleagues from other forces and agencies.

‘We’re in regular contact with Xielo’s family and are continuing to support them in what remains a very upsetting time.

‘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.

‘I would like to reassure you that our operation is continuing, and our teams will be carrying out co-ordinated searches at various points along the river.’

FILE PICTURE - Police search for a missing 2 -year-old in the river Soar Leicester. February 19 2024. See SWNS story SWBNriver. Release date ??? February 26 2024. See SWNS story SWTPriver. A search operation to locate a two-year-old boy who fell into the River Soar has continued over the weekend ??? and will do so this week. At around 5pm on Sunday 18 February, a report was received stating Xielo Maruziva had fallen into the river in Aylestone Meadows, close to Marsden Lane. As part of ongoing efforts to locate him, the search parameter has since been widened, with the operation focussing on the stretch of river around Watermead Park and Birstall over the weekend. Officers from Leicestershire Police continue to be supported by specialist diving teams from Nottinghamshire Police and Lincolnshire Police, as well as other forces and search and rescue teams from across the region and country. Support in the air has also been provided by the National Police Air Service (NPAS).
Officers from Leicestershire Police continue to be supported by specialist diving teams from other forces and search and rescue teams from across the region and country (Picture: Tom Maddick/SWNS)

She continued: ‘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.

‘I’d also like to remind the public that the river is dangerous and that they should not go into the water themselves.’

The focus of the search was on the stretch of river around Watermead Park and Birstall over the weekend, police said.

Xielo’s parents described their son as a ‘cheeky, funny’ boy who is ‘a bundle of joy’.

His mum said: ‘Me, his dad and the whole family are so heartbroken at what has happened.

‘We thank everyone who has supported us and helped us during this time. We are extremely grateful for this.

‘All we want is for Xielo to be found as soon as possible.’

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