A pony belonging to a five year old boy, which went missing from Ramsey's St Mary in Cambridgeshire in December, has been found dead.
Josh Carnegie adored Tic Toc, a 24 year old horse with health problems, but his Mum Catriona discovered the animal had gone missing from his field behind their house when she went to feed him.
An appeal on ITV Anglia for his safe return attracted national coverage and support from celebrities including Clare Balding (see below) and searches took place across the country as horse lovers tried to locate Tic Toc.
It's always been the opinion of the family that he was stolen and it was hoped whoever had taken him would respond to the appeal. But on Monday afternoon Catriona received a phone call saying Tic Toc's body had been found. Today (Wednesday 12 February) she was too upset to talk about it but asked a family friend to comment.
– Polly Porter
The whole family are devastated. Josh was told last night and you can imagine how distraught he was. There are other ponies here but Tic Toc was his life.
She says the pony had never wandered off before and would not have done so even if every gate had been left open.
- Click below to watch a video report from ITV News Anglia's Russell Hookey
The cause of Tic Toc's death remains unknown and there are no obvious factors. He was found close to a shallow dyke about half a mile from the family home by a dog walker. The rug which he always wore was missing.
The area had been searched again and again said Mrs Porter, "probably hundreds of times" and it's unlikely he would have been missed.
She feels Tic Toc had been kept by someone and dumped several weeks after he disappeared. She says the police have been informed and are investigating.