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Anthony AJ Elfalak’s disappearance in Putty, NSW, ruled ‘misadventure’ as police close investigation

Detectives have closed their investigation into the mystery disappearance of three-year-old Anthony ‘AJ’ Elfalak, determining it was a case of ‘misadventure’.

AJ went missing from his family’s sprawling rural property in Putty, in NSW’s Hunter Valley, on September 3 and was found three days later sipping muddy water in a nearby puddle.

Two months on, police have officially closed the investigation into AJ’s mystery disappearance, ruling it a ‘misadventure’.

‘The incident has been determined to be as a result of misadventure,’ a NSW Police spokesman said on Friday.

AJ Elfalak (pictured) went missing on September 3 and was found three days later, covered in cuts and bruises

Up until the moment he was rescued, AJ’s family were convinced he’d been abducted.

They were amazed to find the autistic and non-verbal toddler had in fact survived three nights in the bush with only minor injuries.

Family and friends travelled from all over Sydney and descended on the family home in Putty to help with the search.

His mother, meanwhile, spent most of her time at the nearby Coptic church, praying for a miracle.

And three days later on September 6, she says that’s just what happened.

This aerial image shows the distance between AJ's home and the area where he was found - complete with the dense bushland and dangerously steep terrain in between

This aerial image shows the distance between AJ’s home and the area where he was found – complete with the dense bushland and dangerously steep terrain in between

Anthony 'AJ' Elfalak was found wearing a sweatshirt and diaper, sitting in a creek and cupping water in his hands less than 500m from his home north of Sydney on Monday

The spot AJ was found was just 500m from his family home and was explored extensively in the days he was missing

Anthony ‘AJ’ Elfalak was found wearing a sweatshirt and diaper, sitting in a creek and cupping water in his hands less than 500m from his home north of Sydney on Monday 

‘If you saw the picture of AJ in the creek, you can see the angel next to him,’ Ms Elfalak said after he was safely returned to her.

The rescue helicopter that first spotted AJ had a camera attached which filmed the moment they laid eyes on him.

A photo of the moment began circulating on social media and within paranormal activity groups, showing a ‘face’ in the rocks beside AJ.

But Ms Elfalak clarified she and her family are certain a guardian angel stayed with little AJ to keep him alive while rescuers scoured the property for any sign of life.

Celebrations were underway from about 1pm on Monday - an hour after word spread that AJ had been found alive

Celebrations were underway from about 1pm on Monday – an hour after word spread that AJ had been found alive

With her three-year-old nuzzling into her neck and holding onto her tightly, Kelly Elfalak revealed she had no doubt that the 'power of prayer' kept AJ safe

With her three-year-old nuzzling into her neck and holding onto her tightly, Kelly Elfalak revealed she had no doubt that the ‘power of prayer’ kept AJ safe

She says it is a ‘miracle’ that he was found safe and well, a reflection of the strength of prayer and their faith.

More than 130 people scoured the property, with volunteers helping police on foot and on dirt bikes. 

NSW Police Superintendent Tracy Chapman vowed to investigate every potential lead in the case, saying ‘I know everyone has lots of questions’. 

Detectives working with bush survival experts to develop a full picture of AJ’s disappearance previously suggested his autism may have actually helped him maintain a calm state of mind.

Volunteers worked around-the-clock for four days to locate the little boy

Volunteers worked around-the-clock for four days to locate the little boy

‘The reality is he didn’t know he was lost… so he wasn’t scared, he didn’t panic,’ an investigator said.

‘If he was tired, he slept… he had access to water, which is a big thing for survival in the bush.’

When AJ was rescued and loaded into a waiting ambulance, paramedics said he ravenously ate an entire pizza and ‘guzzled’ water – typical traits of someone who hadn’t eaten for days.

‘He was starving… it’s all consistent with him being in the bush the entire time,’ a paramedic said.

The Child Mind Institute says children with autism often have ‘a weaker sense of danger’ than others and enjoy exploration.

They’re also more likely to ‘wander off’ or look to remove themselves from overwhelming sensory experiences.

A blurry image taken from a police helicopter has given Anthony 'AJ' Elfalak's family all the proof they need that he was being cared for by an angel while lost in the bush

A blurry image taken from a police helicopter has given Anthony ‘AJ’ Elfalak’s family all the proof they need that he was being cared for by an angel while lost in the bush

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk