A MAJOR investigation has begun to find a five-year-old Portsmouth boy who has been removed from hospital without consent by his parents
Ashya King, from Southsea, has a brain tumour and is so ill that police have warned he could die today unless he is found.
Police say Ashya was removed from Southampton General Hospital by his parents, 51-year-old Brett King and 45-year-old Naghemeh King, at about 2pm yesterday.
It is believed that the family are Jehovahs Witnesses who might have disagreed with doctors over their son’s treatment.
Ashya, his parents and six siblings boarded a Brittany Ferries service from Portsmouth to Cherbourg at 4pm yesterday.
The ship arrived in France at 8pm French time.
Ashya is likely to be in a wheelchair or buggy, he cannot communicate verbally and is immobile.
The family, who live in Havelock Road, are travelling in a grey coloured Hyundai I800 Style CRDI, registration KP60 HWK.
Information suggests that the family are still in France.
Officers at Hampshire Constabulary say they are working with counterparts in France to activate their emergency child rescue alert procedures to locate the family as soon as possible.
Detective Superintendent Dick Pearson, of Hampshire Major Investigation team, said: ‘If we do not locate Ashya today there are serious concerns for his life.
‘He is receiving constant medical care within the UK due to recent surgery and ongoing medical issues.
‘Without this specialist 24 hour care Ashya is at risk of additional health complications which place him at substantial risk.
‘He needs to be taken to a medical facility for his urgent health requirements as soon as he is located.
‘We have also launched a social media appeal and would urge everyone to share this appeal, particularly if you have friends and relatives in France and bordering countries.’
Anyone with information which may help us locate Ashya King should contact Hampshire Constabulary as soon as possible on 101 quoting Operation Aquilion.
Ashya’s brother Naveed published an emotive video on YouTube after doctors made the brain tumour diagnosis.
An expert today told of the stress Ashya King’s family would have been under.
Family pictures show the bedside vigil for Ashya at Southampton General Hospital.
On August 18 Naveed King posted an update on Facebook signed “King family”, saying Ashya had been “progressing slowly but continuously with only minor problems along the way”.
The post included several pictures, one showing Ashya with his mother and another of a large stitched wound at the back of the boy’s head and neck.
Naveed wrote: “He (Ashya) is now able to swallow (only liquid things like water and on odd occasions soft yoghurt) but not chew or move his leaps (sic).
“He can also close his eye lids but still struggles in moving his eyes to look at people or things.
“He is still unable to talk to explain how he feels or what may be hurting him on occasions.
“As a family we thank everyone who has taken their time in prayer for Ashya to get better and also by the amazing gifts he has received from those prayers!
“He is still far from being a normal child and still not out of the danger zone of where minor issues could cause severe problems for his brain, so please continue to pray for him to have the strength and to be able to recuperate quickly!”
Naveed, whose Instagram profile says he is 20, describes himself as a Jehovah’s Witness on the social networking site.
Friends making comments on his Facebook page also make reference to the Jehovah’s Witness religious movement.
Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions on religious grounds but are open to other medical procedures.
A spokesman for Brittany Ferries told The News: ‘We have been co-operating with the police. We have confirmed that the family did travel on the 4pm ferry from Portsmouth which arrived in France at 8pm local time.’
The spokesman also confirmed the family had declared they were travelling with a child with “special medical needs” at the time of booking.
Portsmouth City Council said the family was not known to them.