The intruder was tracked down thanks to footage of him from a security camera in the child’s home. (AP)
An unidentified 31-year-old man who was charged on Thursday in relation to the abduction of an Australian girl was believed to be the man who broke into the home where the four-year-old child had been left alone, Australian police said.
The accused man, who was charged with child abduction and aggravated burglary, appeared in the Alice Springs Magistrates Court, where he was remanded in custody until a court appearance on April 18.
The girl’s disappearance set off a search that began last Wednesday after she went missing from a residence in the outback community of Carwoola in far-north Australia.
About 100 people, including dogs, a helicopter and police divers, scoured the bush and the surrounding creek beds on Thursday before the suspect was detained around 400 kilometers (250 miles) away in the South Australian state town of Port Augusta.
The girl’s father told local media that the suspect had entered his daughter’s room on the night she went missing.
“I’ve seen him. He has just got his hands on her and she’s been screaming, crying … it is just indescribable,” the man, who did not want to be identified, told a local television station.
An investigation into how the suspect entered the home where the girl was left alone is ongoing, with a South Australian police spokesman declining to comment on whether there was any evidence suggesting that the man may have forced entry.
Children aged two to seven are permitted to be left alone in their homes under certain circumstances, local law enforcement officials told Reuters.
The safety of children at home alone has been a topic of concern for years and parents in Australia take many precautions to ensure that their children are safe while in their care. In 2009, a 10-year-old boy was left home alone for three hours, prompting authorities to launch a safety campaign entitled “Stay In Your Room”.