Tragic details have emerged following a fatal Christmas Day crash that claimed the lives of 25-year-old Cindy Braddock and Jake Day, 28, who were travelling in a car with their three children, all aged under five.
The family left Northam in Western Australia, about 100km east of Perth, early on Sunday morning and were heading home to Kondinin — 200km away — for Christmas, but were reported missing by family when they never arrived.
The family's maroon Land Rover was found by a relative just before midday on Tuesday with the bodies of Ms Braddock and Mr Day inside, WA Police confirmed. All three children were alive and suffered non-life-threatening injuries from the crash which occurred just 10 kms away from the family's destination on Corrigin-Kondinin Road.
The children, aged 1, 2 and 5, were reportedly alone and stranded by the wreckage for two days before being found, with the youngest still strapped inside the car. The older siblings were located outside of the vehicle when police arrived on Tuesday after managing to free themselves.
The youngest child reportedly sustained a serious head injury but all three children are in a stable condition and were flown to Perth Children’s Hospital for medical treatment. According to police their four-wheel drive skidded off Corrigin-Kondinin Road and ended up about 10 metres from the tarmac after flipping, Mail Online reported.
Family left 'broken'
Mr Day's devastated cousin Michael Read said the family has been left "broken" by the tragedy and described the couple as "really good parents" who will be "missed by everyone".
"(Cindy was) one of those overprotective ones — like wouldn’t let them leave their side, they’d always want mum. Jake was a bubbly person, didn’t really care what people thought, someone you could always get along with," he told Seven News.
Before being found, Mr Read took to Facebook to plead for the family's safe return.
"Has anyone seen my cousin Jake Day or his partner Cindy Braddock? They left Northam at 1am Sunday 25th December to go home to Kondinin with their three young children but haven’t made it home and haven’t made contact with anybody since," he wrote, and later shared an update they'd be found.
Tragic incident being investigated
WA Police Inspector Tony Vuleta said the families of the couple were "understandably very upset and traumatised" by the tragedy, ABC reported.
"An incident of this type is tragic, especially at this time of year. Our thoughts are with Cindy and Jake's family at this time," he said. "Any event like this will adversely affect the community but this is a time where the community actually comes together and supports each other."
An investigation is currently underway into how the crash occurred.
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