Missing toddler found dead in bucket as frantic family desperately search garden

A two-year-old girl has been found dead inside a bucket while her family frantically combed the surrounding garden looking for her.

The toddler's death is being investigated by police and currently treated officially as unexplained, but one neighbour claims officers told her the child had drowned.

A next door neighbour described the frantic scenes as the child's wider family searched for her, before the grim discovery was made by a police dog.

The toddler, who has not been named, was found in the garden at an address on a suburban road in Dagenham, east London on Saturday afternoon.

Police and paramedics tried to save the child, who had been earlier reported missing, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her devastated family wept today as they said "now is not the time" to talk about her life or what happened.

Bu neighbour Shorifa Begum, 44, who lives immediately next door, said: ‘’On Saturday at 4pm I saw two police cars and emergency vehicles.

"I looked outside. I saw the baby’s mother and around seven or eight other people. I asked her what happened and she said her two-year-old girl was missing.

‘’I asked ‘have you looked everywhere?’ And she said she had, and that her family and cousins had looked everywhere.

‘’She said they were searching everywhere, even her garden, and were asking neighbours what happened. I then saw a helicopter and an ambulance and police cars. The road was blocked.

‘’Later, an emergency doctor came and they were pressing the girl’s chest, giving her CPR. There were so many doctors and police, I couldn’t really see what condition she was in.

‘’Then on Sunday I went to the house and I asked ‘what happened did you find her?’ They said she had died. They told me to come and see.

‘’They took me to their garden and said she was in a black bucket. They found her in a large black bucket and said she was dead.

‘’The bucket was next to a wall in the garden. A police dog had found it. There was a little bit of water in the bucket. It is still not clear how or why she died.

‘’The family said they did not have clear information about why she died. The family moved here recently and the property was rented. The girl was black."

She added: ‘’I used to see the mother taking the girl to school in the morning, and the mum would carry the girl on her back.

‘’We would say ‘hello’ to each other and they were friendly, but we did not know each other. I think she lived with both her parents and I think they were a couple.

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‘’The dog found her while the family were out. I don’t know why they were out – they may have been told to or they may have been looking for her.’’

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: ‘’I don’t know anything other than that the police told me the girl had drowned. They were asking me for details and told me she had drowned. That is all I know.’’

Police have confirmed that no arrests have been made, and a post-mortem is due to take place later this week.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: "Police attended an address in Reede Road, Barking, after a two-year-old girl was reported missing at around 4pm on Saturday.

"The girl was found unresponsive in the garden. Despite the efforts of paramedics, she was pronounced dead at the scene. Next of kin are aware."

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