By SHAUNA ANDERSON
Are they loving parents or kidnappers?
Are they religion fanatics or just a family trying to do the best thing by their sick son?
It is the story captivating the world – a desperately ill five-year-old boy “kidnapped” by his parents and taken to another country for medical treatment refused to him.
They have now been arrested and wait in detention while the boy, Ashya, is back in hospital without his parent’s consent- and without them by his side.
British boy Ashya King was taken by his parents from his Southhampton Hospital last Thursday; CCTV footage showed his parents pushing his wheelchair from the hospital.
His family – including his mother, Naghemeh King, and six siblings – then boarded a ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg in northern France. A major police and social media campaign began to find the boy.
It was vital, you see, because time was running out: Ashya is sick. Very sick.
He was in hospital after being operated on for a brain tumor and could die without proper treatment.
The search for Ashya
“It is vital that we find Ashya today. His health will deteriorate rapidly,” assistant chief constable Chris Shead said in a media conference after the boy went missing.
“Ashya is in a wheelchair and is fed through a tube. The feeding system is battery operated and that battery will run out today, “assistant chief constable Shead said.
“He must continue to be fed through the tube by someone with the relevant medical training. “If he doesn’t receive urgent medical care or the wrong treatment is given, his condition will become life threatening.”
Appealing directly to the parents and family, he said: “Our message to you is please take Ashya to the nearest hospital immediately. We understand that this must be an awful time for you, but the most important thing is to get the proper medical care for Ashya. Please work with us to provide Ashya with that care.”
He urged Facebook and Twitter users to help track down the family.
The story rapidly spread throughout the world and a manhunt in three countries took place.
As the news spread, so too did the news that the family were Jehovah’s Witnesses – and that the religion typically refuse blood transfusions on religious grounds but are open to other medical procedures.