WA police officer recounts mother’s joy after three-year-old James O’Reilly found safe near Yallingup

A three-year-old boy who went missing in thick bushland dressed only in his pyjamas for almost 12 hours was found by his grandfather and uncle to the sheer joy of his parents, police say.

James O’Reilly had wandered off while playing outside a holiday home on Karli Rise, in the locality of Wyadup, south of Yallingup at about 7:30am yesterday morning.

The area is surrounded by thick bush and rough ground.

Serious concerns for his safety were heightened by the fact it was a cold day with heavy rain and hail, and he was only wearing his white “Spiderman” pyjamas and gum boots.

Police immediately organised a search and were soon joined by SES volunteers and scores of locals from the surrounding community.

The police dog squad, the mounted unit and the police helicopter also scoured the area for him. But the bad weather prevented police drones flying overhead.

Sergeant Luke Fowler, the officer in charge of the Margaret River area, said the boy was finally found just before 7:00pm by his grandfather and uncle and quickly reunited with his waiting parents.

“That’s something I think I’ll always remember.

“She was about as happy as I’ve seen anyone for a long time.”

James was given a medical check-up due to the amount of time he spent exposed to the poor weather conditions.

WA Police thanked all the emergency service volunteers and community members who helped with the search.

“It was a fantastic result,” Sergeant Fowler said.

“As we always say, it doesn’t matter who finds them as long as the child’s found or the missing person’s found.

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