An 18-month-old baby girl abducted from a care home in Belconnen, Canberra has been found “safe and well” on Friday around 9:15 am, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The baby girl was allegedly nabbed by a man armed with a knife and a possibly fake gun about 12:30 pm on Thursday. The police suspect the baby girl’s mother as an accomplice to the abduction. The 18-year-old mother, whose name is withheld for legal reasons, was at the Barnados Care House for a supervised visit at the time of the incident. By the time the police came, the mother and the unidentified man were nowhere to be found.
Acting Superintendent of Criminal Investigations Joanne Cameron said that the mother was no longer the 18-month-old girl’s primary caregiver. She added that the police didn’t have knowledge of the man’s identity or what his relationship to the baby and the mother might be.
The baby girl’s foster parent, Todd, pleaded for anyone who might have contact with the mother or the unidentified man to urge the couple to come forward. “It doesn’t matter what happened, we just need to keep this child safe,” he said.
ACT and NSW officers conducted an extensive police search north of Nelligen on Friday morning. At around 9:30 am, they found the baby at a campsite near the area.
ABC News reports that Cameron thanked the NSW police and the community for their concerted effort to find the missing baby girl.
Our primary focus from the beginning of this investigation was the safety of this 18-month-old baby girl. Initial assistance of some people who provided information was invaluable and through the collaborative efforts of ACT Policing and NSW Police, the child was located safe and well.
Before the missing baby girl was found, Far South Coast Local Area Command officers arrested a 22-year-old man on River Road at Shallow Crossing about 9 am. Shortly after, they arrested an 18-year-old woman from a nearby camping ground on Drurys Road. The woman was with the missing baby at the time of the arrest.
In a recorded statement sent to ABC via email, Barnardos Australia remarked that the abduction of a baby from one of their care facilities was an unusual incident. They also expressed their gratitude to ACT and NSW for their collaborative efforts to bring the child back alive and well.
As always our primary concern is the needs of the child and we are so thankful that this particular child has been found safely.
Cameron informed the media that arrangements are being made to return the baby girl into the custody of ACT Care and Protection.
[Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images]