Missing boy in Yallingup reunited with family

Michelle Buckley, James, Chris O'Reilly were reunited on the evening of September 19, 2020 after three-year old James was missing in bushland in Yallingup for around 12 hours. Image supplied.
Michelle Buckley, James, Chris O'Reilly were reunited on the evening of September 19, 2020 after three-year old James was missing in bushland in Yallingup for around 12 hours. Image supplied.

A Perth family have been reunited with their three-year old son James who went missing in thick bushland in Yallingup around 7.30am on September 19, 2020.

Little Jimmy was missing for around 12 hours through near freezing conditions as rain, hail and strong winds lashed Western Australia's southwest coastline.

The family were on a weekend getaway when James went missing from a holiday home surrounded by bush, when his parents could not locate him they they called police and a huge search was soon underway.

The SES, Police Air Wing including a helicopter and drones, police horses as well as the canine section and other volunteers searched tirelessly for the young boy.

Around 7.30pm that evening Little Jimmy was found by his grandfather and uncle in dense scrub covered by five-foot grass trees two kilometres away from the home.

"It was seriously the happiest ending anyone could ask for in a situation like that, I could have ran on water," his father Chris O'Reilly said.

His mother Michelle Buckley said James' grandfather said he would bring Little Jimmy home to them.

"I told Chris' mum he would not stop until he finds James, when he brought him back he said, 'I told you I would not give up, I told him I would bring him home to you,'" she said.

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Three-year old James O'Reilly was found in bushland after going missing from a holiday home in Yallingup.

Three-year old James O'Reilly was found in bushland after going missing from a holiday home in Yallingup.

Ms Buckley said the morning had started like many others, little Jimmy went to see his parents for cuddles and she got up for coffee.

James said he was going out to play, which Ms Buckley said he had done the day before and was fine.

"I quickly cleaned up the house for five minutes and went down to grab him and he was gone," she said.

"I was screaming his name and I could not hear anything, that's when I went upstairs and got Chris out of bed and he went outside with the dog.

"I was really scared because the wind was picking up and it was really cold, I was wearing my big jacket and I was freezing.

"It was pure panic, just panic, we needed to find him.

"I was probably shaking a bit from the stress I just felt like he would be out there somewhere so scared and cold.

"I did not think we would find him alive and that we would have to bury our son."

Mr O'Reilly said it was terrible conditions, it was nine degrees Celsius and raining, he walked about 20 kilometres trying to find his son.

"When the hail came in it was like times 10 what I was going through," he said.

"When I initially went out there and was looking and looking, the hours kept going past, I honestly just broke down out there on my own.

"I thought he was gone because I could not find him, it was gut wrenching, one of the worst experiences of my life.

"I do not think I have ever felt so sick in my stomach."

Mr O'Reilly said the initial local support from neighbours was the best.

"The community that came together there were the best," he said.

Ms Buckely said after the police had approached the neighbours they were there 10 minutes later to see what they could do to help in the search for James.

"Just thank you so much for the love and support, even people on Facebook who were sending prayers and hugs from total strangers, it was absolutely amazing," she said.

This story Family reunited after boy found in Yallingup bushland first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.