A friend of the family of a young boy missing in the New South Wales Hunter region has claimed CCTV footage from the day the three-year-old vanished is “missing” from the property’s cameras.
Anthony Elfalak, who is on the autism spectrum and is non-verbal, went missing last week from his family’s rural property at Putty, with the police search now entering its fourth day.
Police have seized a white ute and are checking an abandoned property nearby, with the family fearing he might have been kidnapped.
READ MORE: White ute among items seized in search for missing NSW toddler
Family friend Alan Hashem told Today that AJ’s older brothers were looking after him, and that the three-year-old vanished when one had to go to the bathroom.
He claimed just as the family realised the toddler had disappeared, he saw a white ute driving down a road near the house.
“We didn’t think much of it,” he said.
“We thought, if AJ’s gone somewhere, it’s not going to be far.”
He said the family took four ATVs and covered thousands of square metres in a frantic search.
Mr Hashem said he believed “without a doubt” that AJ had been kidnapped, as the toddler would never have wandered off.
And, he claimed, CCTV cameras he had installed on the property had footage missing of the time that AJ disappeared.
“We installed it so high you can’t tamper with it and we had two mechanisms of storage, cloud storage and physical storage, and there’s no data in that time slot,” he said.
“We provided the user name and password to the police, we provided them the actual original memory card.”
Mr Hashem said the family were the “loveliest people” and said that if somebody had abducted AJ, he urged them to “just bring him home”.
“You don’t understand how much pain and anguish this family’s feeling,” he said.
“The reason why I am the spokesperson is because the mother is not coping and the father, he’s holding it together by a thread.”
Mr Hashem thanked the police searchers and SES volunteers for their “absolutely phenomenal” response to the emergency.
Police have not commented on the possibility AJ was abducted, but Superintendent Tracy Chapman said investigators would examine all possible angles.
Searchers are currently focusing on the property’s 15 dams, though CCTV has also been seized from a service station at Colo Heights.
AJ is described as Mediterranean/Middle Eastern in appearance and has short dark hair.
He is believed to be wearing a grey jumper, pants and sneakers.
Anyone with information about AJ’s whereabouts is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.Internet Explorer Channel Network