'Despicable' group behind disappearance of five-year-old Grace Hughes

·News Reporter
·2-min read

Northern Territory police believe a group "peddling" ideologies are behind the disappearance of five-year-old Grace Hughes who vanished earlier this month.

Grace and her mother Laura Hinks, also known as Laura Bolt, were last seen in the Darwin suburb of Berrimah on August 7 when they both disappeared after a parental visit.

Last weekend, a 50-year-old woman was charged over the alleged abduction.

She appeared in court in Darwin on Monday on one count of abducting a child under 16 and one count of attempting to abduct a child under 16.

Missing Grace Hughes and mum Laura Hinks/Laura Bolt
Grace Hughes and her mother Laura Hinks, also known as Laura Bolt, were last seen in the Darwin suburb of Berrimah on August 7. Source: Northern Territory Police

But now a special police task force has been established to find the missing girl with the actions of those alleged to be hiding her described as "despicable".

Police say the dedicated multi-agency task force will draw on specialist support from other jurisdictions, including the Australian Federal Police.

'Despicable' group behind abduction

Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Jon Beer said the group that claims to have abducted the girl continued to "peddle ideologies and false information" that had no regard for the mental wellbeing of a young child.

"The conduct of this group is despicable," he said.

"NT Police will continue to target this group and any other persons assisting the ongoing harbouring of Grace.

"Police will use every power available to them to locate Grace.

"Anyone who is found to have harboured those who abducted Grace will face significant charges."

Police seeking info on 'what the group stands for'

Detective Superintendent Kirsten Engels told the ABC on Thursday that police were "still getting a fuller picture on what [the group] stand for".

"But that's secondary to the fact that we know they've taken her and we know that they continue to hide her," she said.

Grace is described as having a fair complexion with brown hair and eyes. She was last seen wearing a short-sleeved white dress, as well as white socks and black sneakers.

Her mother has a fair complexion, a slim build and dark hair and eyes.

She was last seen wearing a white and green floral-patterned ankle-length dress or skirt, with a white or cream long-sleeved shirt.

Anyone with any knowledge of Grace Hughes' abduction is urged to come forward and contact police on 131 444, or anonymously, via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

with AAP

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