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3-year-old Fukui Pref. boy missing after father left him in car by river

ECHIZEN, Fukui -- A 3-year-old boy went missing from a parked car's passenger seat while his father was away for a short while, sparking a police investigation, it was announced on Dec. 10.

    The missing boy is Ren Tanaka, 3, the eldest son of Ryoji Tanaka, 30, both residents of Echizen, Fukui Prefecture. The elder Tanaka had left his passenger vehicle at a parking lot of his company in the city at around 2 p.m. on Dec. 9 and was inside the company building for about 10 minutes, before coming back to the lot to find Ren missing. The father immediately called police.

    Officers from Echizen Police Station rushed to the scene and searched the area, but were unable to find the boy. The search continued on Dec. 10, using a helicopter and deploying 150 members from the police station and a local volunteer firefighting squad.

    When the father got out of the car, he had left its engine running. The vehicle did not have an infant safety seat. Near the site lies the Yoshinose River, which had swollen due to rainfall the previous day. The river, located about 6 to 7 meters away, was unfenced.

    Ren is about 1 meter tall and skinny. He was reportedly wearing a green hooded jacket, khaki pants and gray shoes.

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