Missing schoolboy who sparked major search operation found ‘under his bed’

A nine-year-old schoolboy who “vanished” overnight has turned up safe and well – under his bed. Josh Dinning’s family panicked and feared the worst when they went into his room at their Gateshead home to get him up for school to discover he wasn’t there. His mother Michelle, 49, called the police at 9am on Tuesday morning and the force helicopter and dog section were called out to search from him.

I could hear people looking for me and I thought I had better stay quiet because when they found me I would get shouted and bawled at so I just stayed where I was.

Neighbours also joined in the hunt, checking bushes, outbuildings and gardens and handing out pictures of Josh at local shops. But all the while the youngster was curled up underneath a cabin bed in a room in his room, despite the fact it had already been searched by police officers. Josh had crawled through a tiny gap 1ft by 2ft gap in the bottom of the wooden bed frame and curled up where he hoped he wouldn’t be seen. After a search lasting almost four hours, he was eventually found when police officers went back for a second look. Michelle, a sales assistant and mum of eight, said: “I just couldn’t bring myself to be angry with him, the relief that he was alive and well was just too much. Even the police officer who was leading the search was in tears.”

An initial search of the house had been conducted throughout the morning but the compartment had not been checked by either police or Josh’s family. He has now been reunited with his family and we will be reviewing why he was missed in our initial searches.