A SIX-YEAR-OLD old boy sparked a massive police hunt when he went missing for more than six hours – after making a new friend.
Bailee Brown, aged six, was playing in his grandmother’s garden on Bellhouse Road, Shiregreen, when he disappeared.
Unbeknown to relatives looking after him while his parents were at work, Bailee had gone to play at his new friend’s house on nearby Oaks Fold –leaving them frantic with worry. They called Bailee’s parents Aaron Brown, 28 and 27-year-old Natalie Oliver, to raise the alarm on Friday at about 1pm and police were alerted to the disappearance
When his parents arrived, the police helicopter was up in the air looking for signs of their son and police were knocking on doors asking local residents if they had seen him.
Police officers on mountain bikes were sent into local woods and a nearby golf course to look for Bailee and the local community put together a search party.
Social media sites were used to help spread word of the disappearance.
Bailee was finally found at 7.30pm when a woman on Oaks Fold, who had learned via Facebook that a child was missing, spotted a boy she did not recognise playing in the garden of a neighbour.
She told Bailee she thought people were looking for him at the same time as a police car drove down the street and spotted the youngster.
Bailee’s father, from Handsworth, said the hours his son were missing were the worst of his life.
He said: “You automatically think the worst – I was working when I got a call to say he was missing and when I got to Shiregreen the place was swarming with police. They were everywhere, the helicopter was even up looking for him. And the longer and longer he was missing the police kept sending more and more officers. We can’t thank the force enough for everything they did to help look for Bailee.
“I have eight brothers and sisters who were out with all their families looking for him, the whole community rallied around.
“I had forgotten just how many good people there are in Sheffield and I want to thank everyone who helped.”
He said Bailee, a pupil at Athelstan Primary School in Handsworth, had not realised the panic he caused.
Aaron said: “When we saw him we all just burst into tears with relief – there was a lot of crying.
“I don’t think Bailee will forget this school holiday. We certainly won’t!”