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Accused abductor of Childers toddler likely to face sex offences after police search home
The man accused of abducting a Childers toddler as she slept in her family home is now likely to be
charged with child sex offences.
Police claim the alleged abductor kept the three-year-old captive in his home for nearly two days while
police scoured Childers as unfounded rumours circulated that her father’s acquaintances or local drug
dealers were to blame.
It can be revealed the alleged abductor, who is unknown to the family but known to police, has previously
been charged with a child sex offence, but the charges were dropped.
Senior investigators yesterday told The Courier-Mail the 45-year-old accused abductor was likely to be
charged with further sex-related offences after investigators found a burnt computer hard drive and mobile
phone at the accused man’s home on Tuesday.
A highly placed source said the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested trying to leave
the district after a bungled burglary of Bauple Tennis Centre.
Police allege the arrest of the man came down to a fingerprint at the girl’s house.
The toddler was snatched from her home while she was sleeping and found almost two days later after she
was allegedly dropped back at the Childers showgrounds.
A senior police source said authorities would allege a search of the man’s house located wrappings of
chocolate bars, not easily sourced in Australia, with those found with the toddler.
The source said another feature was the child had been bathed “from top to tail’’ and that a computer
hard drive and phone were found at the man’s house. Police confirmed they were testing items found
at the scene of where the girl was kept before considering further charges.
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Brave Chloe Campbell gives details about her kidnap that left the nation on edge
Police have taken DNA samples from more than 20 people, including friends and family, as the
hunt for Chloe Campbell's abductor continues.
Det Insp Bruce McNab confirmed police have also taken fingerprints and footprint samples.
He stressed all the samples had been given voluntarily.
Earlier it was reported, Chloe has described her apparent abductor as "daddy's friends".
The three-year-old used the words when answering family and friends about her mysterious two-day disappearance.
Det Insp McNab told The Courier-Mail the little girl had provided police with “information (they) can use”.
He said Chloe’s secrets had led police to pursue a particular line of inquiry, but detectives were keeping an
open mind and pursuing several leads.
But Insp McNab said Chloe had not referred to “daddy’s friends” when questioned by specialist police
investigators who have spoken to her several times.
“At no time has she made that reference (about daddy’s friends”) to police,” he said. “Chloe has
obviously spoken to family but they’ve never told us about daddy’s friends.”
Police were yesterday taking statements and interviews following The Courier-Mail’s
revelations Chloe’s apparent kidnapping could be payback.
It comes amid mounting speculation that the innocent child was used as a pawn to threaten her father Garth Campbell.
The child was returned to the Childers showgrounds near her home in the dead of night on Friday. She was in good health.
The Courier-Mail’s own investigations have further uncovered Chloe’s parents’ association with known drug dealers in Childers.
A family friend said the couple was friends with a drug-dealing family, one of whom was said to have threatened Mr Campbell nine weeks ago.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Mr Campbell was seen on a street near his house the morning Chloe was reported missing,
about 20 minutes before police received the call.
It was also about 20 minutes before security footage shows two men and a child passing along
the railway line behind Pioneer Park, only a few hundred metres from Chloe’s house on the same morning she vanished.
Locals say the girl and her parents regularly walk that same route from their house on the way to town.
Last week The Courier Mail reported that the vision appeared to indicate a child leading the way - as though
it knew where it was going - followed by two men.
The family told the public and police that an intruder may have used an unlocked lounge
room window to get into the house.
With police tape no longer blocking the street, it can be seen that a number of smashed and
open windows could give an intruder access to the home.
Chloe Campbell’s distraught mother Tammy makes tearful plea for daughter’s safe return
The heartbroken mother of missing toddler Chloe Campbell has made an emotional plea for the return of her daughter.
Tammy O’Donnell sobbed today as she begged for the person who snatched her three-year-old child to come forward.
“I’m hoping she comes home safe, it’s all I’ve got at the moment is hope and hoping someone will be honest enough to
bring her home,” she said.
“Have the guts to bring her home. They were gutsy enough to take her, now have the decency and the guts to being her home.”
Ms O’Donnell pleaded and openly wept that someone would just deliver her back home.
“I’d just like to say if anyone put there had any info please come forward and can you please just please bring her
home...or just drop her somewhere and ring up...she needs to be home with her family.”
Ms O’Donnell said she was living a nightmare, unable to eat or sleep.
“It’s like whole part of me is lost and I’m not going to get it back until she’s home.
“I love you sweet and so does daddy and Brit and Nae and max.
“See you soon sweetie.”
Chloe’s two sisters were also fretting without their younger sister and asking: “what if she doesn’t come home.”
Ms O’Donnell said the family did not have any enemies who would be seeking revenge as they kept to themselves.
A rubbish tip was scoured today and the family home declared a crime scene as the search for the little girl continued.
There’s been no sign of the three-year-old girl since she was reported missing on Thursday morning.
Her parents fear she was specifically targeted and taken through an open window.
Detective Inspector Bruce McNab says the Childers tip was being searched, along with bushland, dams and places near the family’s home.
He says investigators have been tracing garbage collected from the family’s neighbourhood on Thursday morning in a bid to find Chloe.
``We’ve identified the rubbish that was collected on the day and we will be going through that,’’ Det McNab told reporters today.
The family’s home is being examined for any clues, he said.
Inspector Kevin Guteridge says every lead is being followed.
``What we can’t afford to do is have a closed mind on this,’’ he said.
Chloe’s father, Garth, is adamant that his daughter was taken by someone who knew the family.
``They knew she was sleeping in front of the TV,’’ he said yesterday.
``I don’t think there’s any possible way she’s wandered off.’’
A window was open and Mr Campbell said he saw an adult-sized footprint on the car when he looked out.
Chloe’s sleeping bag - patterned with wizards and dragons - was gone, along with her stuffed toy dog named Gnarly.
The case has drawn comparisons in foreign media to that of missing UK girl Madeleine McCann.
Also aged three, Madeleine was abducted from the Portuguese resort of Praia Da Luz in 2007.
State Emergency Service volunteers have been searching bushland, dams and places near the family’s home.
Concerned residents on horseback and motorbikes have also joined the search effort.
Earlier, a helicopter with infra-red camera failed to find missing girl Chloe Campbell, 3, on Thursday night,
and aerial and land searches are set to resume on Friday.
A Queensland police spokesman said detectives were holding a briefing to decide the best search tactic.
The search for Chloe enters its second day on Friday.
Earlier, The Courier-Mail reported the distraught father of a missing three-year-old believes someone who
knows the family took her and that his youngest daughter would never have left their Childers family home alone.
When Garth Campbell awoke yesterday morning, Chloe Campbell, who usually sleeps in the lounge, was missing.
He said a window was open and when he looked out, an adult-sized footprint was on the car.
Friends said the parents went to bed between midnight and 1am and did not notice Chloe missing until 7am, when
distraught mum Tammy O’Donnell phoned police.
Mr Campbell said Chloe’s two older sisters, Janae, 8, and Brittney, 5, have their own room in the two-bedroom
Childers house but on Wednesday, all three girls slept in the lounge.
He said Chloe had been sleeping closest to the window, clutching a blue stuffed toy dog named Gnarly and a
sleeping bag patterned with wizards and dragons, both also missing.
“I don’t think there’s any possible way she’s wandered off,” Mr Campbell said. “She wouldn’t leave the yard
Police yesterday interviewed a man who was drinking at the home earlier in the evening as they launched a
massive air and ground search.
Bundaberg Inspector Kev Guteridge the man was not a suspect. He would not confirm if the family had other
visitors that night.
“We just need to speak to anyone that’s got any information,” he said. “We’re anxious to speak to anyone else.”
Insp Guteridge said police would continue to search all over Childers until they uncovered new leads.
“We hold very serious concerns for the safety of the little girl,” he said.
“We’ll conduct as thorough a search as we possibly can over the broadest area we possibly can.”
Mr Campbell said he discovered “toe prints” on his Ford Falcon Ghia directly below the window, however police have
not confirmed this. He believes the window hadn’t clicked shut.
“I think it’s got to be someone who knows me, in how they got in, where she sleeps,” Mr Campbell he said. “They
knew she was sleeping in front of the TV.”
Police officers, SES and a helicopter were involved in the search which included doorknocking neighbours and
combing nearby bushland and the showgrounds.
Mother-of-four Tammy, who was distraught as she carried their youngest, baby Max, is a stay-at-home mum.
“She’s timid. If she was with a stranger she would be scared. She’d be terrified,” she said.
Chloe Campbell, 3, abducted from home at Childers, near Bundaberg
A major land and aerial search is under way for missing Childers girl Chloe Campbell as police express serious concerns for her safety.
Inspector Kev Guteridge said the search would continue into tonight.
“Shortly after 7am Bundaberg Police were contacted by a distraught mother of a three-year-old girl to advise
that her daughter was missing,” he said.
“We do hold very serious concerns for the safety of the girl as we do with every missing person reported.”
More than 40 SES personnel, the RACQ Careflight helicopter and community volunteers are helping police in the search.
Earlier - A three-year-old girl has been abducted from a home at Childers, 50km south of Bundaberg.
Police have been searching near the Childers Showgrounds after Chloe Campbell went missing from the house on Ridgway St about 7am Thursday.
Crime scene tape has been place around a home and police say they fear the little girl may be at risk. An abduction alert has been issued.
It is understood Chloe’s parents put her to bed last night before going to sleep about 1am.
When they woke in the morning, she was gone.
“The parents put the kids to bed last night.
They went to sleep about one o’clock in the morning after watching TV. They have woken up at seven
o’clock and (Chloe) was not in her bed,” close family friend Melissa Small said.
Ms Small said the window of the bedroom had been left open.
“There’s a footprint on the roof of the car to get through to the window.
“The window was open and her blanket and teddy bear, a grey blanket and a blue teddy bear, has been taken with her.”
Ms Small said she did not know who may have taken Chloe and that the girl’s mother Tammy was distraught at her disappearance.
“She’s an absolutely a mess. We’re just keeping support around her at this time while we’re trying to go out and look for (Chloe).”
SES volunteers from Childers and Bundaberg have been put on standby to join in the search.
Deputy Local Controller of the Childers SES Aaron Frazer said while the girl’s family generally kept to themselves,
they were well known in town.
Police have clarified earlier releases describing Chloe’s clothes.
She was last seen wearing yellow pants with love hearts on them and a white-coloured shirt with butterflies and bees pictured on the front.
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