A major search and social media campaign was launched by police Friday to find a missing British boy “kidnapped” by his parents from a UK hospital, where he was receiving treatment for a brain tumour, and taken to France.
There are “serious concerns” for the boy’s life if he is not found soon, police said.
Five-year-old Ashya King was taken from Southampton General Hospital by his parents, 51-year-old Brett King and 45-year-old Naghemeh King, without doctors’ consent on Thursday afternoon.
Ashya, his parents and six siblings then boarded a ferry from Portsmouth to the French port Cherbourg, arriving at 8 p.m. local time, and are still believed to be in France, British police said.
The family are travelling in a grey coloured Hyundai I800 Style CRDI car, registration KP60 HWK.
Ashya is likely to be in a wheelchair or buggy, said police. He cannot communicate verbally and is immobile.
“If we do not locate Ashya today there are serious concerns for his life,” said Detective Superintendent Dick Pearson of Hampshire Police.
“He is receiving constant medical care within the UK due to recent surgery and ongoing medical issues. Without this specialist 24-hour care Ashya is at risk of additional health complications which place him at substantial risk.
“He needs to be taken to a medical facility for his urgent health requirements as soon as he is located.”
Police have launched a social media campaign to help track down the missing boy, urging Facebook and Twitter users to share pictures and information about Ashya and his parents tweeted by Hampshire Police.
“[We] urge everyone to share this appeal, particularly if you have friends and relatives in France and bordering countries,” said Detective Superintendent Pearson.
Interpol has also issued a missing persons alert for Ashya, which it has circulated to all 190 of its member countries.
Eric Bouillard, a prosecutor in Cherbourg, told AFP that signs point to a kidnapping, though the motive is not yet clear.
"We believe he was kidnapped given the circumstances of his departure from hospital as relayed to us by the British," he said.
"For the moment, what we most want to do is contact the family," added Bouillard.
Ashya's brother Naveed King on his profile on the photo blogging platform Instagram describes himself as a Jehovah's Witness.
Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions on religious grounds but are open to other medical procedures.
Bouillard said: "Even if we cannot treat children against their parents' wishes – this is a difficulty we have in particular with Jehovah's Witnesses – we just want to contact them to try and see what happened."
Police have asked anyone with information to call them on 101 if in the UK or 112 from continental Europe.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-08-29