Determined family and community efforts helped them track down a missing 4-year-old girl after she disappeared from a remote Northern Territory outstation in Australia.
According to the police, the little girl went missing near the community of Titjikala at 2 pm on Good Friday and was found safe and sound with her puppy around 8 kilometres from the outstation on Saturday afternoon.
Despite a massive police operation which included a helicopter, drones, and police dogs, her cousin Que Kenny, said, that it was family members and local residents who eventually found Molly.
Ms Que Kenny said Molly and her puppy were finally spotted sitting quietly on a small hill on the edge of the rugged Simpson Desert on Saturday afternoon. The little girl, who has autism and is hearing impaired, walked 8 kilometres from the Alice Well Outstation where she was last seen by family on Friday.
The dream that led to her
Ms Kenny added that it was a mysterious dream that helped track her down. “There was a tracker from the community that was out [on Friday night]. He came across a small bicycle that was on the side of the sand dunes and tried to follow the tracks, but unfortunately, the four-year-old girl, little Molly, walked over on rocks,” she said.
“That’s where he lost the track, but he didn’t give up hope. He said, ‘She’s somewhere out there, I can’t find her, the track is gone. I’ll do it again tomorrow.’ But luckily a young man had a dream [which] showed him where she was, and he led us straight to her.”
Ms Kenny further said that the young man was on his way to Alice Springs on Sunday but decided to stay back to help search after his dream “showed him where she could be”.
Community gives their support
“He led the rescue team, as we followed, others turned back, but we continued to keep going,” she said. “He led the team to keep walking, to keep going the distance. Easter is all about hope. And we’ve never given up hope looking for her.”
There were between 50 and 70 people searching for Molly amid searing heat on Saturday, Ms Kenny said. “And then it started getting bigger and bigger,” she said.
Ms Kenny said the police did not cast a wide enough scope of the region, despite them telling authorities to search further afield. Northern Territory Police declined a request by the ABC for further information, but in a statement released on Saturday said, “Due to the remote location, other details of the successful search are to be confirmed.”
Acting Superintendent Michael Potts, who led the search, thanked everyone involved. “Significant resources were deployed to assist in the operation,” he said. “It’s a huge relief for everyone involved.”
Searching in tough desert conditions
Ms. Kenny said her search group walked across the arid region for up to six hours, with desert temperatures reaching above 30 degrees. “It started getting to me because I ran out of water … and I started getting dry lips,” she said. “We didn’t worry about snakes or spiders, if we got bitten by a snake we didn’t really care as long as we found her.
“All [we were thinking] was we need to race, we need to race the sun, we need to find Molly before the sun sets.” Ms Kenny said her search party lost sight of the main group — which ultimately spotted Molly sitting under scarce shade.
Molly did not call out to the search party but waited for them to approach her. She was then driven back to the community for a health check. “They were beeping the horn and singing out, praising, ‘she’s here, Molly’s in the car, we found her, we found her’,” Ms Kenny said.
“I ran over and gave her a hug and said, ‘Where’s your puppy?’ She said, ‘He’s here under the chair.’ She added, “That was the greatest joy of my life, I will never forget this. “Molly is such a special little girl.”