Two young children are in good spirits and have been reunited with their parents after they were allegedly abducted from their suburban Melbourne home during an armed home invasion.
Four people remained in police custody on Tuesday after Adilla Wally, 5, and her three-year-old brother Bilal were taken from their home in Blackburn North home about 8.45am on Monday. Their mother was bound, gagged and injured during the ordeal.
After an extensive search by police, the children were found inside a home in the nearby suburb of Mitcham about 7.20pm on Monday night and three men and a woman were arrested.
Police on Tuesday morning said they were still investigating whether there was any relationship between the four people they arrested and the victims but at this stage they said it appeared to be a random incident.
“It’s seemingly a random attack that has taken place on a suburban street but obviously over the course of the investigation today and moving forward we will probably get a better picture of basically who is who in the zoo …and whether or not there is any relationship between any of the parties,” Victoria Police Commander Mick Frewen told radio station 3AW.
“At this stage, we take it as they have just been the victims of a terrible crime, the people involved… may have seen for reason, we are not sure yet, value in doing this terrible act. But it really defies belief as to how anyone could think that way.”
Commander Frewen said the children were in good spirits and had been reunited with their parents. He said the sister and brother were not tied up when police found them in the home.
“They were really quite remarkably docile and at peace with things. Their resilience defied everyone really.”
The children are now staying in accommodation with their father while their home remains a crime scene. Their father, who is employed in the building industry, was at work when the home invasion happened.
Commander Frewen said the family had no idea why they were targeted. “They are bewildered,” he said.
Police at the home in Blackburn North.Credit:Chris Hopkins
The community response to an appeal for information through the media and on social media on Monday helped the investigation immensely, Commander Frewen said.
“We were really uplifted with the great amount of information,” he said.
“We were fortunate to locate the car through a police patrol and from there backtracked and identified a couple of people who may be of interest and did some work up on those particular individuals and one of those led us back to the car and accordingly back to another address where a number of people were arrested and we were able to take custody of the children.”
He said the 32-year-old mother of the children had been the victim of a “terrible assault” and remained in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Detective Inspector Dean Thomas of the armed crime squad.Credit:Joe Armao
“Obviously being removed from her children in such violent circumstances is enough to tear the heart out of any parent and she is no exception,” he said.
“She was so uplifted to have them reunited with her and her husband last night, but she is still traumatised by what has happened.”
A black Mercedes-Benz which was stolen in the incident remained in the backyard of a property in Mitcham on Tuesday morning.
On Monday night, Detective Inspector Dean Thomas, of the armed crime squad, said the children being found safe and well was a “fantastic result”.
“Any incident of this nature where children are taken from a property is concerning for police and it’s certainly concerning for the broader community as well,” he said.
Witness Jane, who did not use her surname, told 3AW she had been walking her dog past the family’s home on Monday morning when a woman ran towards her with tape on her face and her hands bound behind her back.
“She was obviously distressed, screaming and yelling. What I could make out was she was saying, ‘my babies, my babies’,” she said. “She was trying to get me to get the tape off her hands.”
Locals are being urged to check their CCTV and dashcam footage and contact police if they have any further information.
Anyone with more information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit crimestoppersvic.com.au.
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