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Mum hails police response after daughter goes missing

SAFE AND SOUND: Anne Wilkinson and her daughter, Keely, who went missing last week.
SAFE AND SOUND: Anne Wilkinson and her daughter, Keely, who went missing last week. Rob Williams

IT is every parent's worst nightmare...but this story has a happy ending.

Five-year-old Keely Wilkinson went missing from her Collingwood Park home last week and her mum Anne Wilkinson was worried sick.

But within an hour her daughter was back after what Ms Wilkinson said was an outstanding police response.

Last Thursday afternoon around 4pm Keely was playing on a phone and watching TV when her mum stepped outside to take a phone call.

"When I came back in the front door was open and little friends she has up the road were outside asking if Keely could play and I said 'sure'," Ms Wilkinson said.

She then went looking for Keely but could not find her anywhere. She turned the house upside down but there was no sign of her daughter.

"Then I went running up and down the street calling out her name and I went to friends we know in the street asking if they had seen Keely.

"I then got in the car and started driving around everywhere. Then I came back and made the decision to call the police.

"I think for any parent that is a really hard decision because...you think are they going to judge you that you are an unfit parent and question how your five-year-old can walk out the house and not know.

"I called them and within five minutes they were here."

The police operation went into full swing and Ms Wilkinson said the officers left no stone unturned in their search for her daughter.

"They were absolutely amazing," she said.

"I heard car after car pull up. There were probably about eight at one stage."

Ms Wilkinson said the police took all the photos she had, searched the house upside down, took all Keely's personal details and went door knocking.

"They were very reassuring to me because I was quite numb. I didn't know what to say or what to do," she said.

"It was always my worst nightmare as a parent that one of my children would be abducted."

The worst thoughts went through her mind.

Not long after a black Mazda turned up with Keely in it, around 45 minutes after she had gone missing.

It turned out that Keely had thought her mum had gone to Woolworths at Collingwood Park, a trip they often make together, and hopped on her scooter to find her.

She had been riding in the road and the occupants had seen Keely and picked her up and taken her home, but at that stage Ms Wilkinson was out looking for her daughter.

They then took her to a neighbour's home who recognised Keely, but the occupants insisted on taking her to her mother. They then took her to McDonald's for a meal before delivering Keely home. Ms Wilkinson was relieved, and also concerned at the same time that her daughter had been in a car with people she did not know.

It was the police response that Ms Wilkinson was most impressed with.

"The police took it so seriously and their response time was phenomenal," she said.

"They all worked cohesively together as a tight unit."

There is still an overhang of anxiety for Ms Wilkinson who has hardly slept or eaten since Thursday.

There were lessons learned as well for young Keely.

"I have reiterated to her that she can't go anywhere without me knowing," Ms Wilkinson said.

"I said 'you are lucky that nice people found you but not all people are nice'."

Topics:  collingwood park ipswich police missing person


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