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On Monday, two Queensland brothers headed off to play at the park. They never came home. 

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised photos are included in this story of people who have died.

Jhulio and Barak Eatts set off on an adventure together on Monday afternoon.

The brothers left their home in the Townsville suburb of Cranbrook, headed in the direction of their favourite park on the banks of the Ross River.

The five-year-old and three-year-old were caught on CCTV trotting along down Brett street, without their shoes on.

It was the last image taken of them alive.

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The boys weren’t allowed to go to the park on their own, they knew that. Their mother had been keeping an eye on them from the kitchen. From the window, she could see the whole yard.

At about 5.30, an hour after the boys were caught on CCTV, Leeann Eatts looked up from what she was doing and called out.

No reply.

“F*** me man my two babies have been missing since 5.45,” she wrote on Facebook at 9pm. By then, she had already exhausted a frantic search herself and called in backup.

“I got eight police cars at my house and everyone on foot looking for them please keep a close eye out for them on the streets near Stockland Cranbrook and surrounding suburbs, freaking out right now. They are only five and three. Please help me Townsville,” she continued.

Her desperate plea was shared 600 times.

CCTV
The brothers were spotted on CCTV walking at 4.30pm, an hour before their mum realised they'd left the house. Image: QLDPolice.

In the ensuing hours, police would orchestrate a full scale search with mounted and water police.

The SES joined with about 30 volunteers, as did the local fire service.

Locals bought extra batteries from nearby shops so their torches would last through the night.

The Queensland Emergency Services helicopter hovered over the otherwise sleepy neighbourhood.

This neighbourhood and the entire city of Townsville is very used to emergency situations - they've only just re-emerged from the recent devastating floods.

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Just before midnight, after six hours of searching, police issued an emergency amber alert.

They expressed their fears that the boys were at "significant risk."

Leeann took to Facebook again just before 1am.

"Thankyou everyone I cannot express my gratitude right now.

"Still can't find them we got police motorbikes and choppers out and 20 police units have set up in Cranbrook park. I am so tired and empty right now," she wrote.

Townsville Council left all the lights on in surrounding parks. Leeann pleaded with her neighbours.

"Please if you live near a park or are driving past take the time to look. They will be hungry and tired now," she said.

At 4.30am Leeann begged her Facebook community to change their profile photos to one of her sons.

"Please send these photos viral. I thank all who have put themselves out to help find these two wonderful boys," she wrote.

Just before 6am, the boys were found.

Their bodies were retrieved by police from Ross River.

Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles confirmed the brothers were discovered in a small cutaway area in the river - metres from each other.

Due to the recent floods, the area was deep and steep - and surrounded by lots of vegetation and weeds.

The officers who found them were devastated.

"Given the young age of these boys it's extremely trying for everything. We have a difficult job to do. The officers affected will be supported by Queensland police," Detective Miles said.

Detective Miles thinks it was as innocent as the boys playing and jumping in the water before tragedy struck.

Later, members of the public confirmed they'd seen the pair playing happily in the area.

"Going offline in 20 minutes. KC and I just need to recoup for a minute," is the last thing Leeann wrote on Facebook before her account went quiet.

The community is in deep shock.

Support has been offered at Barak's school, and the local indigenous community says they're struggling to come to terms with their loss.

"In the last month the people of Townsville have had to endure a lot of heartache and wrenching despair - and now they must endure more," said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk later in the day.

Leeann's Facebook has been flooded by wellwishers and mourners, with more than 500 commenters sending their love.

A flick through her photos shows dozens of proudly snapped images of her two littlest kids, grinning at the camera.

The sentiments of many summed up by one simple comment among a sea of hundreds on the single mum's account.

"Leeann I don't know you personally but I saw your story on the news and I just wanted to say I am sorry."

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