Desperate bid to save WA girl fails


West Australian police performed CPR on an eight-year-old girl for more than 60 minutes in a desperate but unsuccessful bid to save her life.

The girl went missing with a man, believed to be a family friend, from the remote Tjirrkarli Aboriginal community, 180km northwest of Warburton, about 2pm (WST) on New Year’s Eve, and was found four days later after an extensive air and ground search, about 25km from the community.

She was severely dehydrated and lapsed into unconsciousness soon after police arrived.

Inspector Bill Munnee said the police officers and a nurse from Warburton should be commended for their heroic efforts in trying to save the girl.

“Police immediately administered CPR and you can imagine what this is like in the middle of Australia, the middle of nowhere,” Insp Munnee said.

“They continued the CPR for more than 60 minutes.

“They would not stop until a nurse from Warburton arrived.

“She continued CPR and she would not stop, just would not give up.”

He said the girl and the 38-year-old man went on a hunting trip on December 31.

When they did not return the following day, an elder contacted police who conducted an air and ground search.

“Concerns were raised because they were in a two-wheel drive vehicle, inclement weather and they had limited food, water and fuel,” he said.

An aerial team spotted the vehicle and guided the ground search team, who found the pair a short distance from the car.

The man, who was taken to hospital and is in a stable condition, has been charged with having an unlicensed firearm.

He is expected to appear in court on Wednesday, but Insp Munnee said it was too early to say if the man, a convicted pedophile, would face any further charges.

He said police were aware of the man’s background and that he was living in the community.

“We were monitoring him,” he said.

But there was no evidence the man had interfered with the girl, he added.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out, as well as interviews with witnesses and the man, and forensic testing of the vehicle.

“If there is any evidence to indicate anything has happened, police will take appropriate action,” Insp Munnee said.

He said the officers and nurse who performed CPR on the little girl would be offered counselling.

“It would have been a traumatic experience for them,” he said.

He said the mood at the community was “not good”.

“It is still very raw and they are very emotive,” he said.

If the man wanted to go back to the community after investigations had been completed, police would consult with the elders, he said.

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