'King of mischief will be loved forever'
A TWO-YEAR-OLD who drowned in a dam in the Lockyer Valley will forever be loved for his energy, his mischievous spirit, his love of animals and the Geelong Cats.
His mum Tanya described her boy Caiden as, "a loving little ratbag, always into everything at any time of the day."
His father Mark said with fond sadness: "He was the king of mischief."
Caiden, whose parents don't want his surname published, was reported missing at a rural block in Hatton Vale about 6pm last Thursday.
After a frantic search, his body was found in a nearby dam and he was pronounced dead at the scene about 8.40pm.
A police report will be prepared for the coroner.
Caiden is the eighth child of his large family.
Tanya recalled that on Thursday night, Caiden had been busy - like any normal day for him.
Come dinner time the family home was busy with children and adults preparing dinner and bathing young ones.
Caiden had been on the pergola playing with his dog.
Suddenly Tanya's motherly instinct hit her "in the pit of my stomach" - knowing immediately she had to find Caiden.
They searched their farm, looking anxiously among all the cats, dogs, chooks, horses and birds that Caiden loved.
Seeing Caiden's dog, his mother knew something was terribly wrong.
"The dog was on the pergola, he never went anywhere without his dog," Tanya said.
Desperate to find their lost boy, family, friends and neighbours joined in the search.
People came from near and far to help and police and other emergency services were soon there.
But tragically Caiden was found in a dam that had been filled deeper by recent rains.
As the family described the events of the night their lives changed forever, they know nothing will change their love for Caiden.
Through the tears and sadness, there is also some laughter for the funny times with family and the mischief he caused in his short life.
These are the cherished memories that will get them through the tough days ahead.
Caiden will be farewelled in a private ceremony for family and friends on Monday.
In the middle of their grief, they wanted to thank the community for the love, support and assistance in bringing their little boy Caiden home.
They have been supported this week by Andrew and Kat Plint from Hannah's Foundation, spending hours sitting around the family pergola talking about the journey ahead.
From long and difficult experience, Andrew and Kat know one thing for certain - Caiden's family is not alone in their grief or the path ahead.
The Foundation has set up a fund to help the family with funeral costs and grief counselling as well as ongoing costs as the family attempts to process the events of their loss.
To make a donation go to https://give.everydayhero.com/au/mel-forgan or Bank account: BSB 704 052 Account 103 5885 Hannahs Foundation REF: HF CT 1903.
For more information or to donate to Hannah's Foundation, go to hannahsfoundation.org.