A two-year-old girl reported missing in east London was found dead in a garden inside a ‘builder’s bucket’, neighbours have claimed.
The toddler, who has not been named, was reported missing from a home in Dagenham at 4pm on Saturday.
Police quickly went to the scene and shut off roads as they searched for her.
Around 30 officers desperately hunted around the streets and houses before they made the harrowing discovery.
At the back of a house – which is not believed to her family’s home – she was said to have been found inside a black builder’s bucket by a police dog.
Police and parademics tried to save the child but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her death is being treated as unexplained, but one neighbour said officers told her the child had drowned.
Police quickly went to the scene and shut off roads in Dagenham as they searched for her
Her devastated family wept today as they said ‘now is not the time’ to talk about her life or what happened.
Neighbour Shorifa Begum, 44, who lives immediately next door to the property, told the newspaper: ‘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.’
Another neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, 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.’
One shop employee said police had asked them if they had seen the missing girl on Saturday.
They said: ‘The police officer said she was wearing pink and that they were searching for her.
‘Yesterday we heard she had died from a customer. Everyone is sad.’
One shop owner told the Evening Standard: ‘Police came in asking if we had seen a two-year-old girl. Then left. We found out later she was found dead, it’s so horrific. I can’t believe it.
‘The house is only 200 metres away from us but we didn’t hear anything.’
The garden where the toddler was found was undergoing building work, with a shed under construction, MyLondon reported.
A Met Police spokesperson said: ‘The girl was found unresponsive in the garden.
‘Despite the efforts of paramedics, she was pronounced dead at the scene.
‘The death is being treated as unexplained.’
Police say her next of kin are aware and a post-mortem examination will be held this week.
The Met’s East Area command unit are leading an investigation. There have been no arrests.