Man charged with murder over missing girl in Blue Mountains

Man charged with murder over missing girl in Blue Mountains

A man has been charged with murder after a nine-year-old girl vanished from a property in NSW’s Blue Mountains last week.

A man has been charged with murder following an investigation into the disappearance of a nine-year-old in NSW’s Blue Mountains last week.

The girl was reported missing from a wedding estate in Mt Wilson at 8.20am on Friday January 14, sparking a major air and ground search.

At about 8.30pm last night police attended a unit on Riley Street, Surry Hills, and arrested a 32-year-old man.

He was taken to Surry Hills Police Station and charged with murder.

The man was refused bail to appear in Central Local Court today.

NSW Police are expected to provide further information over the course of the day.

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Police, SES and RFS crews have spent the past five days scouring bushland around the multimillion-dollar Wildenstein wedding venue, where the girl was staying with her mum and her mum’s fiance.

The nine-year-old usually lives with her grandmother in Coolangatta, Queensland, but was spending two weeks with her mother during the school holidays.

The murder charges come as questions were raised over missing hours between the time she was reportedly last seen and when police were notified.

Police were told she was last seen sometime on the afternoon of Thursday, January 13, though she wasn’t reported missing until the following morning.

While the exact time her family realised she was missing is not yet known, it is possible she was missing for anywhere between 15 to 20 hours before police were notified.

University of Newcastle criminologist, Dr Xanthe Mallett, said it is “quite unusual” for there to be such a long period of time between the child disappearing and it being reported to police.

“I think what is unusual is that she wasn’t reported missing for a number of hours. That is quite unusual in a child disappearance,” she told Sky News.

“However, we don’t know why that was.”

Dr Mallett said the first 24 hours after a child disappeared were often critical to the investigation.

Car, boat seized during investigation

On Tuesday, The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday that investigators have turned their attention to a red ute which the girl’s mother’s partner was known to drive.

Officers seized the vehicle after the man drove it to Penrith police station over the weekend to speak with investigators.

The publication reported police were sifting through hours of CCTV footage from cameras around the area to track the movements of the car.

Neighbours had previously told police they saw a car leaving the Mount Wilson property without headlights on at about 4.30am on Friday.

On Tuesday, a neighbour told the Daily Mail his wife was reading at about 4.30am on Friday last week when she heard the sound of a car moving along the driveway.

“She got out of bed and went to the window and saw a shadow moving,” the man claimed.

“It is very quiet here at night and you can see the headlights – there weren’t any on.”

Investigators also seized a boat over the weekend for “further examination”.

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Author: Shirley