In October 2009 a little girl vanished in West Auckland.

Her name was Aisling Symes and within hours of her death she was known to most New Zealanders.

For eight harrowing days police, search specialists and volunteers searched for the 2-year-old.

But there was no sign of her until a detective brought in to give the case fresh eyes demanded a drain near where she was last seen be checked again.

In the second episode of the Herald's new podcast A Moment In Crime we look back at what happened to Aisling, with new details from when she was found.

The podcast is now available on iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and in the Spreaker player below.

Aisling Celine Symes was last seen playing with her sister, laughing, stomping in puddles and chasing ducks at a family home.

Her mother was watching her as she fixed a washing machine.

In the time it took for her to look down to turn off a tap - Aisling disappeared.

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Aisling Symes died in 2009 after falling down a manhole into a drain in West Auckland. Photo / supplied
Aisling Symes died in 2009 after falling down a manhole into a drain in West Auckland. Photo / supplied

Despite frantic and exhausted searches, there was so sign of the toddler for eight days.

It wasn't until the head of the investigation called in Detective Sergeant James Watson to take a ground zero approach and review the disappearance, that Aisling was found.

She had fallen down a manhole and into a drain just metres from where her mother was standing.

The case was tragic, and made headlines around the world.

Ten years on we revisit the life and death of Aisling in episode two of A Moment In Crime - the Herald's new true crime podcast.

In the episode we hear from Watson about the moment Aisling was found, from the public face of the police investigation and from journalists who covered the case and spent time with the toddler's family.

Alan and Angela Symes, left, carry the casket at the funeral of their daughter. Photo / NZPA
Alan and Angela Symes, left, carry the casket at the funeral of their daughter. Photo / NZPA

A Moment In Crime is written and hosted by Anna Leask, senior crime reporter for the Herald. The podcast is produced by Chris Tarpey and Frances Cook is the executive producer.

Leask has been covering crime and justice for the Herald for more than a decade and has reported on most of the major incidents and events over that time.

"Each month I'll take you inside some of our most infamous incidents, notorious offenders and behind the scenes of high profile trials and events to show you what's really happening in your backyard," she said.

"Heroes and villains battle for justice to be done, and it seems no matter how horrifying the story, we always want to know more.

"If you want to know more about the cases that have shocked and shaped our nation - from murders and massacres to violent villains and the utterly unbelievable - join me for A Moment In Crime."

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Alan and Angela Symes, with daughter Caitlin, 5, at their home in Henderson today. Photo / NZ Herald
Alan and Angela Symes, with daughter Caitlin, 5, at their home in Henderson today. Photo / NZ Herald

In our first episode we looked back at the Christchurch terror attack - what unfolded on March 15 and how it changed New Zealand.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO EPISODE 1 OF A MOMENT IN CRIME

The podcast is the second for Leask.

In 2017 she wrote and hosted Chasing Ghosts - a six-part podcast series on the Amber-Lee Cruickshank case.

The South Island toddler disappeared almost 27 years ago from a small town on the shore of Lake Wakatipu.

READ MORE AND LISTEN TO CHASING GHOSTS HERE

Despite exhaustive and repeated searches, there has never been any sign of the little girl.

To mark the 25th anniversary of Amber-Lee's disappearance, Leask investigated the famous cold case in a bid to generate some answers for the toddler's family.

It was the Herald's first true-crime podcast.

You can listen to A Moment In Crime on the Herald website now, or download episodes on iHeartRadio or Apple podcasts next week.

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