The mother of two-year-old Ruben Scott is struggling to realise she will never hold him in her arms again after the toddler’s body was pulled from a dam on a remote cattle station Far North Queensland.
The family’s worst fears were confirmed on Friday afternoon when Ruben’s body was pulled from the water by police divers after a frantic, three-day search on the expansive property, 100 kilometres from Kowanyama.
He had been playing with a puppy in the garage when he went missing on Tuesday afternoon, sparking an urgent search.
His mother Natasha Scott and grandfather Noel Scott had been warned by police on Friday that the toddler’s chance of survival was narrowing.
Hours later, at 3:30pm, his body was found.
Ms Scott posted her last photos of Ruben on Facebook to share her grief.
“I never ever thought I’d have to make a status like this in my entire life, but this is what it’s come to and I have to come to the realisation that you’ll never be in my arms again,” she said.
“I love you so incredibly much and I’ll always have you in my heart.
“The love I have for you is completely unconditional and always will be.
“I hope you’ll be watching over me up there, I’ll forever need your guidance.
“Fly high my son, I love you to the moon and back.
“You’ll be my forever and always.”
Ruben’s death has touched thousands, with an immense outpouring of sorrow on social media.
But it is the communities of Kowanyama and Maramie that would be struggling the most.
Scores of neighbours helped in the search — some used their mustering helicopters — Indigenous rangers were brought in, alongside the police and SES.
More than 60 people searched the property, which spans about 1,700 square kilometres.
Far North Queensland District Chief Superintendent Brian Huxley said the whole community was grieving.
“[It’s] just terrible. Really, really terrible … just a terrible tragedy,” he said.
“It’s a takeaway for me — just how tremendous it is that so many people in the community, the neighbouring properties, who really rallied together to do their best to help this family and try to find this little boy.
“It’s a huge effort on their behalf – an absolutely enormous effort on their behalf.”
It is yet to be determined how Ruben came to be in the dam and how he died, with a report being prepared for the coroner.