Four-year-old found dead in tumble dryer

A four-year-old boy was found dead in his home's tumble dryer, UK police say.

It is believed that a game of hide and seek led to the child climbing into the household appliance.

Identified as Sonny Shephard, the boy was reportedly trapped inside the dryer for approximately an hour while police and family searched for him.

It is still unclear whether he suffocated or died when the machine's cycle started.

Police were called by his frantic mother who returned home from a shopping trip to discover the boy's disappearance.

It was suspected that the boy may have strayed from the house during the playful game with his half brothers and half sister, who were looking after him.

Police launched a search in the immediate area, using a helicopter to carry out an aerial hunt, and loud hailer appeals telling neighbours to look out for the lost boy

It only took an hour for the search to return to house where the mother reportedly made the grim discovery in the tumble dryer.

A spokeswoman for Derbyshire Constabulary described the mother as "distraught" and unable to face the media.

"At the moment, we are at the very early stages of this investigation but it does seem it's a bizarre and tragic accident where this little boy has managed to climb inside a tumble dryer", a police source told the Daily Mail.

A spokeswoman for Derbyshire Police said: "It's too early to say how this tragedy happened so we are carrying out further investigations.

"We are awaiting results of a post-mortem before we determine what we do next."

Neighbours of the Derbyshire family described Sonny Shephard as "a sweet little lad".

One neighbour, who asked not be named, told the Daily Mail that Sonny loved playing hide-and-seek and was "always trying to give his older brothers and sisters a surprise".

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