A missing three-year-old girl dubbed ‘Australia’s Maddy’ has been found alive almost two days after disappearing.
Chloe Campbell was discovered missing from her home in Childers, Queensland, on Thursday morning, local time, but 42 hours later “wandered home” and was reunited with her mother.
The massive search operation was called off when the little girl was found by police a short distance from the family home, in an area known as the showgrounds.
Police dogs carried out an immediate search of the area in the hope of finding anyone who may have dropped her off.
She was taken to hospital for a check-up where she was briefly re-united with her mother, Tammy O'Donnell, and her father, Garth Campbell. Her parents later went home while she was kept in overnight.
Chloe was discovered missing on Thursday morning and a window of the room she was sharing with two siblings was found open. Her father told reporters a footprint had been found on the roof of a vehicle parked underneath the window.
Her re-appearance was as much of a mystery as the initial disappearance, though police refused to say if she was found in the same clothes she was last known to have been wearing. A few hours before she was found, security footage was located of two men and a young child close to the family home shortly after midnight on Thursday.
Inspector Kev Guteridge said: "It’s one of those dreams that comes true. It's really amazing news. Shortly after midnight Chloe was located at the Childers showgrounds by police.
"Chloe was examined by ambulance before being taken to the Bundaberg Base Hospital where she's been reunited with her mother. I'm very, very happy to report Chloe is safe and well and in very good health."
He added: “Obviously, how she came to be at the showgrounds will be part of the investigation.
"The last couple of days our focus has been locating her and locating her safe and well. Now we will transition to the investigation phase and focus more on that, as to the circumstance of her disappearance."
"As you can appreciate at the moment our whole focus is Chloe's well-being. While we are happy to get her back we also have to make sure she's okay before we progress too much with her."
Chloe was, according to reports, spotted by police after calling out, “Mummy,” as she approached the family home.
Ms O’Donnell said after being reunited with her daughter: "I was just in tears... I ran in the room basically.
"I just laid on the bed with her and gave her cuddles for a while and then we just came home to let everyone know.''
She described herself as, “Over the world,” adding: “There is no other word to really describe how I'm feeling, just overjoyed.
"Thank you to everyone, and everyone that called in to help bring Chloe home safe and happy."
Chloe was exhausted and was asleep for much of the reunion but told her mother: “mummy want to go home now.”
Police repeated their appeals for anyone with information about the disappearance to come forward and said they will be investigating local - and so far unsubstantiated - rumours that someone close to the family was involved.
The case drew comparisons with the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann who vanished from the Portuguese resort of Praia Da Luz in 2007. The parallels were emphasised when a photograph of Chloe was released that bore haunting similarities to pictures of Madeleine.