Beau O'Leary nestles his head into his mum's shoulder, giggling.

"I didn't go missing mum, I just played video games," the 4-year-old says, oblivious to the turmoil he caused 24 hours earlier.

It was 2.50pm on Wednesday when Beau set off on a routine walk to collect macadamia nuts from a tree on a neighbouring property 130m from his house.

Ten minutes later, when he hadn't returned, things turned frantic.

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More than a dozen police officers and dogs, and many more members of the public started looking for Beau as darkness descended on the small coastal Hawke's Bay community of

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