News

Couple's desperate search for missing child has happy ending

Dunoon resident Johanna Voegele reunited with her daughter Minowa Worthington, 2, after she was reported missing and found by police following an intense search.
Dunoon resident Johanna Voegele reunited with her daughter Minowa Worthington, 2, after she was reported missing and found by police following an intense search. Jacklyn Wagner

EVERY parent's worst nightmare became reality for Dunoon's Johanna Voegele yesterday morning when her two-year-old daughter Minowa went missing and she had to call 000.

Ms Voegele said her daughter was outside their Dunoon Rd home with her partner Michael Worthington one minute and was gone the next.

"She was with my husband who was working on the car outside and she was playing on a swing set next to the car and he was going back and forth and pushing her on the swing," she said.

"Then she had enough of the swing and walked around the path outside toward the house and so he assumed she was just going inside."

Panic set in for Johanna about 10.30am, when, after frantically searching for five minutes inside and outside the house, yelling her name at the top of their voices, the couple realised she was missing.

At this stage Minowa hadn't been seen by either of her parents for about 30 minutes and Mr Worthington called 000.

"We shouted and shouted her name and she usually just pops her head around the corner to let us know where she is.

"It was out of character for her to go missing," Ms Voegele said.

Mr Worthington raced to a creek that runs through the back of the property and combed the area calling out and looking for his daughter.

Suddenly the worst possible thoughts of what could have happened to her daughter flashed through Ms Voegele's mind.

"We started freaking out because that's never happened before," she said.

"We were thinking that she had been picked up by someone in a car who was driving along Dunoon Rd.

"We started getting scared that she might have been bitten by a snake and was lying somewhere and that was why she wasn't responding."

Four police vehicles from the Lismore area rushed to the scene and a search was launched for the toddler.

About 12.20pm, after three searches of the house, Ms Voegele said a wave of relief washed over her when a police officer walked out the front door of her house carrying her daughter after finding her asleep under blankets in the spare room.

Ms Voegele said police told the couple they did the right thing by calling 000.

"I am really grateful and really thankful to the police for their rapid response, they were wonderful."

Topics:  missing child police



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