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International hunt after mum snatches Andrew, 4

The Daily Telegraph
13 December 2008

International hunt after mum snatches Andrew, 4
By Michelle Cazzulino

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NSW Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner Ken Thompson has issued an international plea for information leading to his son's safe return.
Picture: NSW Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner Ken Thompson has issued an international plea for information leading to his son's safe return.

Video: Watch this father's heartfelt plea / How you can help Mr Thompson find Andrew

Sitting in his only child's colourful bedroom, NSW Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner Ken Thompson yesterday issued an international plea for information leading to his son's safe return.

Australian authorities say Andrew, 4, was abducted by his mother, Mr Thompson's estranged wife Melinda, on April 24 this year.

The pair flew from Sydney to Singapore and then on to the German city of Frankfurt, where they disappeared.

In a rare move, the family court this week issued a publication order after Australian and German police exhausted their efforts to find Mrs Thompson, who may be travelling under her maiden name of Stratton.

The document warns anyone recognising her or her son not to approach them as 46-year-old Mrs Thompson may pose a danger to herself and her young son. They have been asked instead to contact police.

A devastated Mr Thompson yesterday told The Daily Telegraph he had been left reeling by the breakdown of his six-year marriage last Christmas and his wife's subsequent decision to snatch their son.

Before their disappearance, a psychiatric report found she was suffering from a mental condition that affected her judgment and her ability to parent effectively.

But at this point, Mr Thompson said finding Andrew was his only priority.

"He's been ripped away from everything he knows," he said.

"He's probably blissfully unaware of what's going on because he's only four but the emotional damage that's being done to this child is absolutely shocking."

While members of Mrs Thompson's family knew she planned to leave Australia, they don't know where she is now.

Both she and Andrew are Australian citizens, although Mrs Thompson, who holds an MBA, is fluent in French and German.

Mr Thompson said Interpol had issued alerts in 187 countries and a huge international media campaign would be launched, with posters featuring Andrew's image to appear on buses across the UK.

He said he was worried about his wife's mental stability, which could have deteriorated in the period since her disappearance.

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