“Having your child go missing is one of the worst things that can happen to a parent.”
And mum Jay Brewerton found herself in the middle of her worst nightmare on Sunday afternoon (May 31).
Daughter Isadora, three, sparked a huge search after she went missing from her home in Haslam Crescent.
Police raced to the scene and scoured the area while concerned neighbours joined the search.
But thankfully this tale had a happy ending when Isadora emerged from her hiding place – two hours after going missing.
The drama unfolded when Jay left Isadora and brother Isaias, five, with dad Kevin Bennett while she went to the garden centre at 3.20pm.
When she returned a short while later, she realised Isadora was nowhere to be seen.
Jay said: “I returned home and realised my daughter was not in the house.
“Her father realised he had not seen her for half an hour.
“We searched the house and garden and the park behind us for about 25 minutes.
“At that point it was coming up to 4.30pm and we made the decision to call the police.”
Jay, who is six months pregnant, started to fear the worst after seeing the garden gate had been left open.
The house backs on to Seabourne Road Recreation Ground and there is a small stream nearby.
Jay said: “It was just horrendous. You have all the worst things going through your mind.
“You start to panic – with the back gate open, had someone come and taken her?
“We spent a fortune making the property secure, then it’s not as secure as you think.”
While she was still on the phone to the police, the first unit arrived and soon 30 officers were combing the area.
She said: “They were unbelievably good.
“They called the sniffer dog team and the police helicopter was en route.”
Thankfully, after two hours of searching, PC Jason Kemp found Isadora after she emerged from her hiding place.
She had gone to hide after having an argument with her brother, who has autism, and then fell asleep.
Jay said: “We still do not know where she hid.”
She added: “I was trying to hold myself together and not cry and panic.
“She’s at that age where she likes playing peek-a-boo and hide and seek but has never gone missing like that before.”
Jay praised the rapid police response, saying: “I was really grateful to them. It was amazing how quickly they responded. It just goes to show they are there when you need them.”
She added: “Having your child go missing is one of the worst things that can happen to a parent. We are really genuinely grateful to all our neighbours who took time out on their Sunday afternoon and joined in the search for our missing daughter.”
PC Jason Kemp said: “This was extremely distressing for the girl’s mother and that length of time must have felt like eternity. We were very happy to find the little girl safe after she had fallen asleep while hiding.”