Leonie Astra HUTCHINSON

 

Date of Birth  - 1999

Age now (2011) - 12 years

Last seen - Scone, NSW Hunter Valley in December 2001, aged 18 months

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Police fear for the safety of little Leonie Hutchinson, who appears to have "dropped off the face of the earth". Despite questioning the child's mother Kate Hutchinson on a number of occasions, police say she's unable or unwilling to discuss her daughter's whereabouts. They're now appealing for your help in finding Leonie, who would now be six...

The last-known sighting of baby Leonie was in the NSW Hunter Valley town of Scone in December 2001, when she was 18 months old.

Detective Inspector Tim Seymour, who's in charge of Strike Force Kanuna which is looking into the youngster's disappearance, says, "The worst-case scenario is that Leonie is deceased and the best case is that she's living happily with a loving family." Det Seymour says despite 10 months of "extensive inquiries" around the Hunter Valley and along the NSW Central and North coasts, her whereabouts remain a mystery.

The five-year-old's mum has four other children, three of whom now live with their grandmother Helen Hutchinson. The youngest, a one-year-old girl, lives with her mother. Helen says she only learnt of Leonie's existence in January 2001, by which time Leonie was 18 months old.

"I've had custody of my daughter's three sons (aged 15, 13 and 11) for the past eight years, but no contact with my daughter," she explains. "This is a very concerning situation."

Police discovered Leonie was missing in January this year while investigating an unrelated matter. "We've spoken to the family and friends of Kate Hutchinson as well as following up any leads, but we've hit a dead end so far," Detective Seymour explains.

Police have also spoken to Leonie's biological father, who's separated from her mother, but he was unaware his daughter was missing and was stunned when told the news.

Det Seymour says that from his inquiries he knows Leonie was a happy little girl "who loved fairies and teddy bears".

The last confirmed sighting was when Kate brought Leonie to the Scone Medical Centre in October 2001 to be immunised, but locals say they saw Leonie and her mother in Scone several times in December of that year.

"Our only concern is for her safety. If anyone has her or knows where she is, they shouldn't fear our investigation," say the police.

If you know where Leonie is, call Hunter Valley police on (02) 6542 1399 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

 - with thanks to WOMAN'S DAY magazine


Police continue search for missing Scone girl
Bronwyn Farr
Thursday, 25 August 2005

POLICE are determined to establish whether missing Scone child Leonie Hutchinson is still alive, with Detective Inspector Tim Seymour appealing to Upper Hunter people for information regarding her disappearance.
Leonie Astra Hutchinson was last seen with her mother Kate Hutchinson at Scone Medical Centre in late 2001 when she was 18 months old.

She would have turned six last Wednesday.

Police scoured a property near Scone last week but Det Insp Seymour, who is heading the investigation, would not elaborate on the search that involved 50 police and SES personnel and mounted police.

"I've said all along our best case scenario is that she is alive and well and our worst case scenario is that she is deceased," Det Insp Seymour said.

"I am reasonably confident we will resolve it one way or another. Somebody, somewhere, must know what has happened to this child.

"All we are concerned with is the welfare of the child, if she is alive and well that be the end of our investigation," he added.

"Any member of the community who has information to assist us in our inquiries should contact Muswellbrook Police or any of the police stations, and all information will be treated in confidence," Det Insp Seymour said.

"The welfare of this child is paramount and that is all we are concerned about. We just want to establish whether this child is alive and if that is the case, then nobody has anything to fear," he said.

Her mother Kate - also known as Rainbow - had spent time in Broken Hill, and on the central and north coasts, including in Byron Bay and Gorokan, but currently lives in the Upper Hunter district.

She has been quoted as saying that Leonie is with a wealthy family who will take care of her.

But there is no record of Leonie's existence since the last confirmed sighting of her in October 2001.

Det Insp Seymour said an illness precluded Leonie's mother from assisting police with their inquiries.

If you can help police with their inquries, phone:

- Hunter Valley Police 02 6542 1399

- Scone Police 02 6544 0199

- Murrurundi Police 02 6546 6144

- Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.


 

 Police in the Hunter Valley have begun a statewide search for a four-year-old girl who went missing from Scone more than two years ago.

Police only became aware of her disappearance six weeks ago.

Leonie Astra Hutchinson was 18 months old when last seen, Detective Inspector Tim Seymour of Muswellbrook police said.

He said her disappearance was discovered when police were investigating an unrelated matter.

Leonie had last been seen in Scone in December 2001. Her mother Kate, 31, had spent time in Broken Hill, and on the central and north coasts, including in Byron Bay and Gorokan.

"Her mother is ill and it is possible the little girl is in the care of another couple and we would like that couple or anyone who knows the whereabouts of the child to contact police," Detective Inspector Seymour said.