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1993: Missing two-year-old found dead
Police have confirmed a body found on a railway embankment in Merseyside is that of missing toddler James Bulger.

A murder inquiry has been launched. His injuries were described as "horrific" by Merseyside police.

Detectives are now trying to establish if the two-year-old had been killed before being taken to the railway or died as a result of being tied to the tracks.

The site where the body was found is less than three miles from the Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle where he disappeared during a shopping trip with his mother on Friday.

Parents must keep hold of their children

Merseyside Police
Surveillance cameras show the toddler being led away by two boys thought to be between the ages of 10 and 14.

Detectives are appealing to them to come forward to help with inquiries.

Detective Chief Inspector Geoff MacDonald, leading the inquiry, said: "It may well be that these two boys took James away innocently and the events have overtaken them and they are now frightened to come forward."

Experts are currently enhancing images taken from the CCTV footage to get a clearer picture of the two boys.

Parents have been warned to keep a close eye on their children.

"Until the person is caught, parents must keep hold of their children because until we know what happened, who is responsible, we cannot guarantee their safety," said detectives.

James' grandmother, Helen Bulger, described the family's disbelief at what had happened. "It's like a dream," she said. "You see these cases and you feel very sorry for the people involved but you don't know, there's no way you could know the depth of feeling involved."

"He was a lovely little boy. He was so beautiful," she added.

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The railway embankment where James' body was found
The two-year-old had been tied to the train track

In Context
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, the two boys caught on CCTV with James, were convicted of abducting and murdering him in November 1993.

In June 2001 the Parole Board announced the pair were no longer a danger and recommended they be freed as soon as possible.

Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss had ruled in January 2001 the identities of Venables and Thompson should remain secret as there was a "real possibility of serious physical harm and possibly death" to them.

The Manchester Evening News was found guilty of contempt of court over an article about the young men's whereabouts published just hours after the parole board ruled they could be released.

The court order prohibiting publication of any information likely to lead to their identification will probably remain in place indefinitely.

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