hunt for clues to toddler's identity

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    Hunt for clues to toddler's identity
    October 16, 2004

    AMID the hustle and bustle of visiting time at busy Gosford Hospital on Wednesday afternoon, a drama was unfolding.

    As one of the hottest October days on record was coming to an end, a young man walked in carrying a pretty blonde girl in his arms.

    He approached one of the staff - what was said has not been revealed by NSW police - then fled.

    Left behind, in a corridor close to one of the wards, was the little girl.

    What makes this case unique is that she is two or maybe three years old.

    Babies have been left behind but a toddler has never before been abandoned in a NSW hospital.

    "From my experience I can't recall a case of a three-year-old being dumped like this," a Department of Community Services spokesman told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.

    "When it has happened before, it has always involved newborns and babies."

    As a staff member was dispatched to call the police, the little girl, who staff began to call Missy, was taken to the children's ward.

    It has a toy and games room and she busied herself there as police rushed to the scene.

    "She got extra special attention," a hospital spokeswoman said.

    "She kept the nurses very busy, I am told. She was everywhere, she was quite mobile.

    "Apparently she quite enjoyed herself. She's a healthy young child and the staff looked after her well."

    But she said behind their reassuring smiles, the staff were desperately worried. "It was upsetting for them.

    "But probably you couldn't find a better place to leave a child than at a hospital because you know she is going to get looked after."

    With the man who dropped her off gone, police began a search for clues not unlike a scene from TV show CSI.

    First, they compared her description against all active missing persons files but that came back negative.

    Calls then went in to all the child care agencies to see if that raised any flags but to no avail.

    Then another line of inquiry did throw up a clue.

    Officers had been dispatched to find all CCTV from cameras in the area around the hospital - and footage from the train station appeared to show her with two people.

    The man and woman, aged 20 to 25, were seen coming up the station stairs with the girl at 5.15pm.

    That was half an hour before she was left at the hospital but no other footage has been found.

    The hospital has its own CCTV cameras but they did not capture any further images.

    Detectives have no idea about the pair's relationship to the little girl. They need the public's help and are planning another appeal in Gos- ford today.

    "The little girl is not injured but we simply don't know who she is or who her parents are," said Chief Inspector Peter Wilde.

    "Police need to speak with the two people identified in the CCTV footage at Gosford railway station to try and piece together who she is and where she comes from.

    "The sooner we can work out what has happened the better."

    The man police are looking for is described as 20 to 25 years old, 175cm tall, thin with short dark hair, wearing a white polo shirt, dark shorts with white stripes, white joggers and a black-and-white baseball cap.

    The woman is a similar age, 170cm tall, thin with long straight brown hair, wearing a dark purple long-sleeved top, denim jeans, white joggers and carrying a white plastic shopping bag.

    The Daily Telegraph



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