UPDATE at 5:00 PM | A 12-YEAR-OLD boy who was abducted in broad daylight from outside his Gold Coast home and driven interstate has been found safe, but with injuries “consistent with being bound”, police have revealed.
Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, lead investigator Detective Inspector Marc Hogan revealed the schoolboy had been kidnapped for a ransom.
Neighbours watched on in horror as the boy was dragged “kicking and screaming” into a dark blue Jeep Compass outside his Mudgeeraba home on Friday afternoon.
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He was then driven 200km interstate where he was found in the northern NSW town of Grafton shortly after midday on Saturday.
Police said the boy was found with a 53-year-old man.
He was arrested and is expected to be extradited to Queensland where he will be charged with ‘kidnapping for ransom’.
Detective Inspector Hogan said demands for money had been made in the lead up to the abduction.
It’s understood the demands related to a number of personal loans between the boy’s father and a man of Chinese heritage.
“It was a case where both parties were known to each other and there were financial issues involve,” Det Insp Hogan said.
“In the lead up to the abduction we will allege that requests were made for money and of course that is what led to quickly identifying who we should be looking at.
“It’s quite a substantial amount (of money) in my book.”
The breakthrough came after an eagle-eyed member of the spotted the Jeep used in the abduction and phoned police.
Detectives from Queensland worked with NSW Police and used traffic cameras to track the Jeep before setting up a serious of check points along the Pacific Highway to catch the driver.
Detective Inspector Hogan said the child was found in the Jeep with “slight scratches consistent with being bound”.
He was, as a precaution, taken to the local hospital for an examination.
It brought an end to a frantic 21 hour search which spanned two states and involved dozens of police officers.
“Thankfully we don’t see this sort of thing much because this is high-end serious stuff,” Det Insp Hogan said.
“We are just so happy that the boy is healthy… hopefully the long term ramifications for him as a person won’t be too bad.
“I expect it would have been fairly traumatic.”
Police have thanked the media and the public for their help.
NOTE: Images and earlier versions of this article identifying the boy have now been redacted for to privacy reasons.