Australian Federal Police (AFP) have found 11-year-old twin sisters allegedly taken by their mother from outside their Townsville school in north Queensland four years ago.
The sisters were seven when they disappeared in 2014 after their parents’ marriage failed.
After four years of searching and the offer of a reward, there was a breakthrough on Friday when AFP officers found the twins on the New South Wales mid-north coast.
Their 46-year-old mother, Cassie Watter, has been formally charged by Queensland police with two counts of child stealing after an arrest warrant was executed on Friday.
Ms Watter appeared in Taree local court on Friday and was extradited to Queensland on Saturday evening.
She is due to face the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.
Their father, Michael Watter, posted on social media that it was the best news possible that the girls had been found.
“Thank you to Queensland police and Australian Federal Police for their work in locating and recovering the girls and to all of you who followed, liked, and shared this page to help bring them home,” Mr Watter wrote on Facebook.
‘We had a phone call from Cassie’
The children’s grandmother, Heather Doubleday, said she was relieved to hear from her daughter after four years of silence.
“We had a phone call from Cassie saying she was in police custody in Taree … Cassie sounded very composed,” Mrs Doubleday said.
“It was a bit of a shock but it was just lovely to hear from her.”
The children’s father had mounted an ongoing media campaign to try to locate the children.
Several inquiries had been underway since Ms Watter and the twins disappeared in 2014.
Friends of the mother and children, who cannot be named to protect their identity, have supported Ms Watter since her disappearance.