A MISSING boy, who ran away from a Salvation Army children's home, fell into the hands of a paedophile ring and likely ended up "at the bottom of Sydney Harbour" the royal commission heard.

In some of the most chilling evidence before the inquiry into abuse at four of the army's boys homes, Salvation Army Major Cliff Randall recalled a time in the '70s when a regular runaway from the Indooroopilly home went missing and never returned.