Couple endure every parent’s nightmare as seven-year-old son goes missing

Liam Holder, 7, back with his family at his home in Thetford, after he went missing for about 7 hours. With him is mum Michelle, dad Scott, sister Kacie, 5; and brother Harvie, 19 months. Picture: Denise Bradley Liam Holder, 7, back with his family at his home in Thetford, after he went missing for about 7 hours. With him is mum Michelle, dad Scott, sister Kacie, 5; and brother Harvie, 19 months. Picture: Denise Bradley

Saturday, January 4, 2014
6:09 AM

A mother whose seven-year-old son went missing for more than seven hours has described how she feared she would never see him again.

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Liam Holder, 7, back with his mum Michelle, and dad, Scott, at his home in Thetford, after he went missing for about 7 hours. Picture: Denise BradleyLiam Holder, 7, back with his mum Michelle, and dad, Scott, at his home in Thetford, after he went missing for about 7 hours. Picture: Denise Bradley

Michelle Carroll, 26, and Scott Holder, 25, of Elm Road, Thetford, endured every parent’s nightmare when their son, Liam Holder, went missing on Thursday afternoon after going to shops with friends and his sister.

His sister, Kacie, returned home, but Liam was last seen at 2pm. When the Diamond Academy pupil did not come back before dark, Ms Carroll contacted the police, sparking a panicked search.

Neighbours and family scoured the surrounding area to find him, with the police helicopter called into action as part of the hunt.

Ms Carroll said they were used to Liam playing out with friends, but that he normally checked in with them regularly.

“We weren’t too worried to begin with because it was daylight and normally he’s close by.

“But as time went by I could just feel in my gut that something was up because it wasn’t like him,” she said.

Ms Carroll called 999 at around 5pm, with officers quickly sending out an appeal for help which cascaded through social media sites and sparked neighbours into action.

But despite the frantic search, there was still no sign of Liam for another four and a half hours.

Ms Carroll, who stayed at home in case Liam returned, said she felt “helpless”.

“When you are in that situation, you think of every scenario.

“People’s reaction was absolutely amazing - we couldn’t believe the amount that came out to help us.

“But as it went on I thought he was gone and I would never see him again,” she said.

While the frantic search continued, Liam was wandering through Thetford with a group of friends, visiting Castle Park and the Abbey Estate.

He said the group had spotted the police helicopter flying overhead but had no idea it was looking for him.

He was eventually found on the Abbey Estate at around 9pm - seven hours after last being seen - by a resident who had seen the appeal for help and delivered him to the police.

His mother said seeing him was a great relief.

“I was so emotional by that point and couldn’t stop crying. I just gave him a huge hug,”

“He won’t be getting out of my sight for a few days though, that’s for sure,” she said.

13 comments

  • It seems some parents learn nothing from past events. I would be too embarrassed to parade my family in front of the media like this. I sincerely hope Social Services will be on their door step Monday morning.

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    BG

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

  • What kind of parent allows a seven year old boy & his five year old sister out alone? Surely children of this age require much more supervision.

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    Tudor Bushe

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

  • Absolutely agree with Tudor Bush. Irresponsible parents.

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    Ann Konash

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

  • Surely social services would be interested to know why the parents didn't report his absence until 3 hours after he was last seen. Truly shocking parental behaviour.

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    Catty

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

  • Call me a bit too cautious and modern in my thinking if you like, but I won't let my kids out on their own until they are at least ten or eleven. And then only with a mobile to keep in touch, but certainly not somewhere like Thetford. I used to go out and play with friends when I was seven and I doubt the risk of things like predatory perverts is much different now than back then. But the roads are now much busier and I think more dangerous for children on bikes or walking. Also another of the really notable things these days are the groups of youths wandering about even in rural locations. Back in the day there was the odd ne're-do-well teenager about but now "neets" are all over without focus or hope to fill their days. Not all of these kids are bad but some are becoming "lost" to society.

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    Cyril the Canary

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

  • I was allowed out on my own as a 7 year old and that was the norm then so not bad parenting (it is probably safer now if anything). This is probably a lesson to all though.

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    JohnnyH

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

  • very lucky,and unlike the Mccanns they seem genuinely sad

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    John Smith

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

  • Well times change-when I was five I walked to school with an older cousin or got a ride on his cross bar.And later took my younger sister to school and walked her home when she did not give me the slip-which she did on one memorable occasion-big panic before she was found an hour later playing with a pal. But that was more than 50 years ago and these days traffic and the fact that no one knows anyone anymore so that strangers stick out like a sore thumb-wouldn't like to risk a little tot out unless in the company of really responsible older children. The design of many new estates where there is insufficient secure garden and any communal open space cannot be observed from all the surrounding homes restricts the opportunities for children to play together without being directly and minutely supervised, which is a shame. A dilemma for parents, just how and when their children can take steps in independence

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

  • Doesn't say how old these "friends" were. Parts of Thetford are very rough and I wouldn't let a child under 10 wander around there.

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    samphirelover

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

  • Maybe the headlines should have read "Irresponsible parents waste police time and money"... would they like to pay the bill?

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    Mr T

    Sunday, January 5, 2014

  • Very irresponsible of the parents to allow children of this age to wander about not really knowing where they were going, given the large number of aggressive dogs that seem to be about these days they were also in danger of being bitten

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    blister

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

  • There is no way in this world I would even let my 10 year old out in our village to play, let alone my 7 year old!. Completely irresponsible parents. Especially in Thetford. It is full of awful estates and people and crime. Main roads and goodness knows what else. The story states he was with friends playing on castle park and then the Abbey Estate of all places??.... Luckly he was found safe in my opinion!.These places are either end of town to one another with busy streets and roads in between.Words fail me on their type of parenting. I would never ever let my children out of my site in this day and age. I certainly wouldnt be dramatising it all by going to the press, talk about facing backlash from RESPONSIBLE parents.

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    luanmapo

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

  • The word 'numpty' was invented for people like this.

    Report this comment

    Betty Swallocks

    Sunday, January 5, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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