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Hunt for US child moves to Victoria

11 July, 2010
Sunday Herald Sun

Hunt for US child moves to Victoria


AN EIGHT-YEAR international hunt for a stolen child is now focusing on Victoria.

The child's desperate father has spent $250,000 searching for his little girl who was snatched from her home in the US in 2002.

Brozzi Lunetta has accused the Australian Federal Police of abandoning their search for her despite a court order to find her.

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Even if the nine-year-old, Reya, is found it will be up to a court to decide if Mr Lunetta can take her home to America because she has been in hiding in Australia for so long.

Mr Lunetta believes his daughter is in hiding with her singer mother Camilla Ellefsen in Melbourne, where he suspects his former wife is part of the music scene.

He has set up websites and has visited Australia several times in search of his daughter. He said he would never give up.

"I don't want Reya growing up believing a story that her father died in a car accident," he said.

Reya, who was one when she was kidnapped, has a brown birthmark on the sole of her foot, a red birthmark on the back of her head and blue-grey eyes.

Ms Ellefsen, 37, who sometimes uses the first name Zelma, has a distinctive tattoo of herself from the shoulders up measuring 7cm by 7cm on her right shoulderblade.

She has a brown birthmark on her left forearm, a chip in her front tooth, blue-grey eyes, is 173cm tall and speaks with a slight northern European accent.

Mr Lunetta last saw Reya when they celebrated her first birthday together at the Los Angeles Zoo in June 2001.

"I will never give up searching for her," he said.

"One day she will learn who she is and that her father loved her.

"That is my legacy to her."

Mr Lunetta, a documentary and film maker who has worked with Madonna, AC/DC and Deep Purple, is flying to Australia next month.

He said there had been several sightings of his former wife and daughter in Melbourne, but admitted they could be anywhere in Australia.

Reya's mother, who has used the names Camilla Lunetta and Zelma Ellefsen, abducted the girl and drove across the US then flew to London and Norway in July 2002.

Ms Ellefsen, a Norwegian, stayed with relatives for a while as the FBI issued a warrant for her arrest.

Despite Ms Ellefsen's passport being red flagged under a Hague convention ordering the abducted child be returned to her father, she left Norway and flew to India in early 2003. Mr Lunetta said the Norwegian Government later apologised, but it was too late and the trail went cold.

After several months in India, the mother and daughter flew to Perth in late November 2003.

In the first of a series of heart-stopping near misses, police raided a Fremantle boarding house where the pair had been staying, but they had fled a fortnight earlier.

In 2006, Mr Lunetta flew to NSW following a tip-off as police geared up to raid a rural property, but the kidnapper mother and child again slipped away.

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