UPDATE @ May 6 2018 6.00am | A Queensland mother has been extradited to Brisbane, after she was arrested in New South Wales, accused of kidnapping her own children.
The 46-year-old, who allegedly kept herself and her twin girls hidden for four years, was nabbed near Taree on Friday amid a joint investigation between Queensland Police and Australian Federal Police (AFP).
She has been charged with two counts of child stealing and is set to face Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.
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EARLIER @ May 5 2018 6.30am | It’s been just over four years since a distraught Queensland father last saw his twin daughters.
He dropped the then seven-year-olds off at their Townsville school and watched them walk through the gates on April 4 2014.
When he came to collect them at 3pm, he was told they had not attended school that day.
Their mother’s car was found abandoned with the girls’ school bags and uniforms left inside.
They had vanished, and for four years their father never gave up his search for them; moving from Townsville to Brisbane following a possible sighting in the Queensland capital and offering a $50,000 reward for information.
But yesterday, exactly four years and one month since he last saw his girls, he got the call from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) he had been so desperately waiting for.
The girls had been found.
The father wrote a short post on the Facebook page he had set up in a bid to find the twin girls.
“The best news possible today. Girls found. Mother in custody.”
“Thank you to Queensland Police and Australian Federal Police for their work in locating and recovering the girls, and to all of you who followed, liked, and shared this page to help bring them home.”
The now 11-year-olds had allegedly been kept hidden by their mother, on a property near the town of Taree on the New South Wales mid-north coast.
The trio had been ‘off the grid’ and the girls have reportedly not had any formal schooling in that time.
The AFP has confirmed the arrest of their 46-year-old mother “on an outstanding Queensland arrest warrant for the offence of child stealing”.
“The mother appeared before Taree Local Court (Friday) afternoon where the court approved her extradition to Queensland,” the AFP said in a statement.
“It is anticipated the mother will appear before a Queensland Court at a later date.”
This article has been edited to protect the identity of those involved.
If you are in immediate danger call 000 now. If you require advice or assistance, the following services offer counselling and support.
Lifeline 24/7 telephone crisis support 13 11 14
DV Connect Queensland Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 phone 1800 811 811
1800RESPECT 24/7 phone 1800 737 732
Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast