Woman charged after alleged abduction of five-year-old
A BILOELA girl, 5, is safely back home with her family after an alleged abduction on Wednesday afternoon.
She was reported missing to police by her mother at 3.15pm after it was realised she was not at the Malakoff St property.
Detective Sergeant Damien Smith said the girl allegedly left with a woman, 24, who had a "loose association" with the child's mother.
"Mum was having a rest and when some occupants returned they noticed that the child was missing along with a vehicle," Sgt Smith said.
The vehicle was owned by one of the occupants of the house.
Sgt Smith said police were unsure of the woman's motive but it would be part of an ongoing investigation.
After further inquiries at nearby properties police issued an Amber Alert at 6.30pm.
Sgt Smith said police believe the girl and the woman arrived in the Calliope area around 5pm.
He also said the pair visited the Puma service station and McDonald's for a "bite to eat".
A member of the public spotted them at about 7pm and reported it to police at Calliope.
Sgt Smith said the woman and the girl were later found on the Dawson Highway.
He said the timing of the report was crucial.
"The Amber Alert going out via social media lead to this witness coming forward very quickly when they recognised the missing person and the person of interest in their area," Sgt Smith said.
Police found the girl in "good spirits".
"We organised and made sure she had some tea but she appeared to be quite happy and didn't appear to be overtly traumatised," Sgt Smith said.
"But it's very hard to tell at that age and she was very tired.
"We didn't have a chance to have too much interaction with her because the priority was to get her back to mum."
Sgt Smith said abductions were not common in the Gladstone or Banana regions.
"We only get incidents of this on a very rare occasion - maybe one or two every so often," he said.
"It'd be concerning for any parent to wake up and find their child missing."
Sgt Smith praised the efforts of the police officers involved with some recalled to duty to assist in the ongoing investigation.
The woman from Emerald has been charged with one count each of abduction, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, driving whilst unregistered and failure to comply with requirements while holding a class C learner licence.
She was due to appear in court yesterday, however, it was immediately adjourned.
The woman is assisting police with inquiries and is due to appear in the Gladstone Magistrates Court tomorrow.