Dad finds his long-lost kids
AN anonymous tip on a website led a heartbroken father to a suburban Brisbane home this week and ended a desperate 12-year search for his son and daughter.
The man's little boy was just eight weeks old and his daughter was aged three when he came home one afternoon in 1992 to discover his de facto had fled with their two children.
A Family Court order granting him weekend supervised access meant nothing because he did not know where they were.
"They just vanished," said Peter, whose real name and that of his children and former partner cannot be disclosed.
The Perth boatbuilder started a nationwide hunt for his children, hiring private investigators to check reports that they had been taken interstate.
"I just kept hitting brick walls," said Peter, who estimates he has spent more than $50,000 searching for his children.
But nine days ago he was given fresh hope when, on a website set up to help search for the children, an anonymous visitor left a message containing a name and telling him to look in Queensland.
A Brisbane private investigator traced the tip to a house in the city's southern suburbs and, after confirming it was where his former partner and children were living under new names, Peter caught a plane to Queensland.
"I took a chance. I've been taking chances for 12 years," he said.
He arrived on Wednesday night and, with a Family Court warrant for his former partner, he contacted federal police who located her on Friday.
The issue of custody and access to the children will go before the Family Court.
Peter is yet to see them, but is relieved to know they're OK.
"I feel a lot better now," he said, before flying back to Perth yesterday morning.
"I've found a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel and I'm heading towards it and it's getting bigger."
For Peter, the hard part will be re-introducing himself to his children after the long separation.
"I'd also like to sit down with my kids and tell them who I am – tell them they have a dad."