Mum's abduction fears as urgent search for missing boy, 3, continues

·3-min read

The mother of a missing three-year-old boy has broken her silence as the desperate search enters its third day.

Anthony ‘AJ’ Elfalak, who has autism and is non-verbal, was last seen playing with his brother on the family's Putty property in the Hunter Valley region of NSW about 11.45am on Friday.

AJ's mother Kelly Elfalak told 9News she feared her son had been kidnapped.

A photo of Anthony 'AJ' Elfalak who is missing from a Putty property in the NSW Hunter Valley.
Anthony 'AJ' Elfalak has been missing from the NSW Hunter Valley property since midday on Friday. Source: Facebook

"I've searched the property, so many times I've searched and I still cannot find him," Ms Elfalak said.

"I'm his universe, he holds my hand all day and all night, we are together all the time – something's not right."

She later added: "I think he's been taken. He's been taken. If he was around here I would have found him by now."

Hundreds of volunteers and police have been searching the area since AJ was reported missing from the property on Yengo Drive in Putty, about 75km south of Singleton. 

AJ's family moved to the property three months ago. They said it was out of character for him to wander off.

The Elfalaks said an older model white Toyota Hilux was seen on a private road at the property around the same time AJ disappeared, according to 9News.

AJ last seen wearing grey jumper, pants and sneakers

In a post to Facebook, family friend Alan Hashem appealed to community members to keep an eye out for the toddler.

"Four ATVs (quad bikes) were dispersed immediately within the 10-minute window that AJ went missing and covered a large radius and could not find him," he wrote. 

"This child has never wandered before."

The Elfalaks' rural property in Putty with police cars parked on the road.
Hundreds of police and volunteers have been searching the property for the missing boy. Source: Facebook

"We are asking for as many people as possible to assist in the search and spread this message immediately.

"Anyone around the Singleton and Hunter Region please keep a look out."

AJ is believed to be wearing a grey jumper and pants, as well as sneakers, and is described as being of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern appearance, with short, dark hair.

'Every minute is important' in search for AJ

An amber alert has not yet been issued, with NSW police spokesperson saying the search for AJ remains ongoing on Sunday.

NSW Police superintendent Tracy Chapman told reporters on Saturday dams in the area had been emptied and police divers deployed, but they hadn't been able to locate any trace of where he could have gone.

"Really every minute is important, our priority is to just find AJ as quickly as we can," Ms Chapman said.

NSW parents Anthony and Kelly Elfalak with their sons.
The Elfalak family fear someone has abducted AJ. Source: Facebook

"Obviously, the terrain is very difficult. We're in a rural setting, there are various levels of elevation.

"We have been searching some of the dams and waterways."

Police are being assisted by NSW Ambulance, State Emergency Service (SES), Rural Fire Service (RFS) and the Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA).

A statement was issued by NSW Police reminding anyone wishing to help the search that Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.

"There are sufficient emergency services on scene and public assistance is not required at this time," NSW Police said in a statement.

"This area is deemed regional NSW and travel restrictions under the Public Health Order apply."

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the Crime Stoppers NSW website.

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