The close knit community in the County Waterford village of Stradbally were praying this weekend for the safe recovery of two-year-old Aisling Symes who is missing and is believed to have been abducted from the front yard of her late grandmother’s home in the Auckland suburb of Henderson, New Zealand.

Aisling’s father, Alan, lived at Church Lane in Stradbally with his parents, Wymond and Olwyn, and sister, Eithne. The family were prominent members of the Church of Ireland community Alan and Eithne attended the local Stradbally National School before receiving their secondary education at Newtown School in Waterford city.

However, following the sudden death of Wymond Symes, who worked as a sales representative, the family moved to New Zealand. When Aisling was born in the Waitakere Maternity Hospital in Auckland in June 2007, her proud family announced her birth to their Waterford friends via the Stradbally Notes in The Munster Express. Alan and Angela Symes also have a daughter, Caitlin, aged five.

As we went to press, there was absolutely no news of the whereabouts of Aisling who police believe was abducted. Grim comparisons have been made to the case of British toddler Madeline McCann who disappeared without trace from her parents holiday apartment in Portugal and is still missing.