Police tonight arrested a woman who allegedly abducted a seven-year-old Winchelsea boy at knifepoint after stabbing his father in the face in central Victoria yesterday afternoon.
South Australian police detained the woman at a hotel in Port Augusta, about 250 kilometres north of Adelaide, about 8pm. Police said the boy, Steven, was found unharmed.
The boy was allegedly taken by Danielle Amy Boundy, 36, after a domestic dispute with her de facto partner outside a Ballarat service station during which she stabbed the boy's father in the face, according to police.
This afternoon, police said they feared Ms Boundy was still armed and could be headed for Queensland.
Steven's mother spoke to him about midnight last night and Ms Boundy had allegedly promised to return him to his mother this morning.
Detective Sergeant Gerry Richardson said Steven's father had met the woman on the internet about two months ago.
The pair had been in a relationship but it turned violent, he said.
"The lady who has the child has some alleged mental illness and she has had psychiatric treatment in the past and it's believed she may be in possession of a knife where she could either do harm to herself and or Steven," he said this afternoon.
Detective Sergeant Richardson said police were "extremely concerned" for the boy's welfare.
Police were looking for a green 2000 Mitsubishi Magna sedan.
During a brief conversation with his mother about midnight, Steven said he wanted to be home with his parents but did not mention the woman had a knife, Sergeant Richardson said.
Police conducted a wide-scale hunt to find the woman and Steven.
"There is some indication that she may be travelling to Queensland and obviously ... that's what we'd be looking at ... roadside stop houses that vehicles would stop at a long-distance journey, and also obviously service stations," Detective Sergeant Richardson said.
Steven lived in Winchelsea with his father, who shared custody of him with the boy's mother, who lives in Corio.
Detective Sergeant Richardson said Steven's father had received medical care for facial injuries after Ms Boundy allegedly attacked him with a knife and forced him from the car.
He said the father reported his son missing to Winchelsea police about 6pm last night.
Detective Sergeant Richardson said Ms Boundy was from Winchelsea but had "quite a few addresses".