Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Lewis Eddleston death: Family criticise police

Lewis Morley also known as Eddleston
Image caption Inquiries into the death of Lewis Eddleston are continuing, police said

The family of a 13-year-old boy found dead in a ditch in Doncaster have criticised South Yorkshire Police for its handling of his disappearance.

The body of Lewis Eddleston was found near Edenthorpe on Wednesday morning.

His family said police had treated Lewis as a "runaway" and had not taken his disappearance on Sunday evening seriously enough.

South Yorkshire Police said the search had been complicated by false sightings reported on social media sites.

A post-mortem examination conducted on Wednesday found the youngster died from drowning a short time after he was last seen by friends at about 16:00 GMT on Sunday, South Yorkshire Police said.

Lewis' death was not being treated as suspicious, police said.

'Let down'

Michael Eddleston, Lewis' brother, said the family knew as soon as he failed to return home that he had not run away and something more serious had happened.

"We knew he'd gone missing but the police treated it as a runaway," said Mr Eddleston.

"He'd never run away before. There was nothing to say he wanted to run away, so why treat it like that?" he said.

Image caption Friends held a vigil in Edenthorpe on Thursday evening in memory of Lewis

Maxine Eddleston, Lewis' sister, said police officers visited Lewis' home at about 02:00 GMT on Monday - three hours after his family had first contacted the police.

After that, the family heard nothing from police until his body was discovered at about 10:30 GMT on Wednesday, she said.

"We feel like we've been let down. We're disgusted about how it's been dealt with," said Mr Eddleston.

In a statement, South Yorkshire Police said the force wished "to reiterate thanks to the local community for the support provided in the search for Lewis, which was complicated by a number of false sightings reported on social media sites".

"Family liaison officers continue to support Lewis' family at this difficult time."

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding Lewis's death was continuing, said police.

Meanwhile, about 300 people attended a candlelit vigil in memory of the dead teenager in Edenthorpe on Thursday evening.

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