LONDON – British police on Thursday were questioning two 11-year-old children arrested on suspicion of attempting to murder a 5-year-old boy. One of the victim's relatives said the attackers tried to tie the boy to a tree by his neck.
West Yorkshire Police said officers arrested the boy and girl after Anthony Hinchliffe (search) was found Tuesday with marks around his neck and bruises on his body in Dewsbury, northern England.
The neck injuries could be ligature marks, Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan said, when reporters asked if Anthony had been hanged.
"Clearly the family are very distressed," Brennan said. "The victim is a 5-year-old child who suffered serious injuries, which is why those arrested were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder."
Police said they also were seeking three other youngsters in connection with the investigation.
Anthony was apparently taken from the garden of his mother's house Tuesday, said his father, Mark Hinchliffe, who is separated from the mother. Anthony's 22-year-old cousin Tracey Jones and another person later found him in nearby woods.
Jones told the Yorkshire Post newspaper that Anthony burst into tears when he saw her. "I asked him, 'What has happened?' He said, 'Some boys and girls tied a rope around my neck and tried to tie me to a tree,"' Jones was quoted as telling the paper.
Anthony was taken to the hospital and treated overnight before being released Wednesday.
Police arrested five children ages 11 and 12 in connection with the attack, but released two boys early Thursday. They later released a 12-year-old girl.
British media drew comparisons between the case and that of toddler James Bulger (search), who was led away by two 10-year-old boys and slain in 1993.