LONDON, Apr 18 (Reuters) British police were investigating today whether the mother of a 12-year-old autistic boy had jumped off the Humber Bridge with her son after his body was found in the river below.
The body of Ryan Davies was spotted in the Humber near Goole on Sunday morning by the captain of a pleasure boat and was later recovered by the coastguard.
Ryan and his 40-year-old mother Alison, who suffers from depression, had vanished from their home in Stockport near Manchester last Tuesday and had not been seen since.
''One of the current lines of inquiry being pursued by police is she travelled to Hull from Stockport with the intention of doing herself harm and may have left the side of the Humber bridge with her son,'' a Humberside police spokeswoman said.
Officers are now examining CCTV footage of an incident on the walkway on the bridge last Wednesday. However, the images are not good quality and will need much enhancement, the spokeswoman said.
Davies used to live in Hull and still had friends in the city, police said.
''We do not believe Alison had visited Hull for some time but we do need to speak to anyone in the area who may have had contact with her recently,'' Detective Superintendent Colin Andrews said.
''We must also establish how Alison and Ryan got to Hull and so I would appeal to bus and taxi drivers in the city to think back to last week.
''Given what has happened to Ryan we are concerned for Alison's safety and as time passes that concern grows and the likelihood of finding her alive and well reduces significantly.'' Davies's sister Lindsay Cook paid tribute to her nephew.
''He was a cheerful, outgoing, friendly boy who loved football and riding his bike. He enjoyed company and was loved by all who knew him and will be deeply missed,'' she said.
''God bless you Ryan we love you and miss you terribly.'' She added: ''We would also like to highlight the ongoing plight of families coping with mental disability issues in order to spare other families from experiencing this pain.'' REUTERS SHB HS1238