Relatives and neighbours of Kalpak Ingle, the three-year-old boy who was kidnapped allegedly by his own father on December 25 last year, said they did not even know that the boy had been abducted, and had believed that he had wandered off and got lost.
Kalpak and his parents, Naresh and Swati, live in Indra Nagar on Juhu Tara Road, and everyone in the society had joined hands and made efforts to trace him.
"All we knew was that he went missing accidentally," said Lata, who is related to the Ingles and lives in the same society.
"Kalpak went with his parents to an ice-cream parlour close to Juhu beach. They left him alone to pay the vendor and he was missing when they returned."
Relatives said after the couple returned home, several residents of the society had gone searching for the boy. "Swati was crying profusely when she returned. Almost immediately, around 75 to 100 of us stepped out and spread out in the entire area looking for Kalpak. But there was no sign of him," a neighbour said, requesting anonymity.
The couple then filed a missing person's complaint with the Santacruz police, and continued hunting for Kalpak.
"We made posters of the child and several of us helped stick them on the walls in and around our society in Juhu. For several days, we walked around, questioning random people if they had seen the boy," another neighbour said.