Queensland Police have confirmed missing Gold Coast girl Jocelyn Lewis has been found safe and well, after wandering away from her family on Sunday afternoon.
Jocelyn was spotted by a member of the public on Spall St, Carrara, at 3pm this afternoon, about five minutes away from where she went missing.
Queensland police say the five-year-old seems to have emerged from the ordeal with little more than a few scratches and bruises.
“For a young girl that’s spent nearly 24 hours out and about…she’s in remarkable condition,” said Inspector Scott McQueen.
Jocelyn’s father, Steve Lewis, said it had been a sleepless night for him and his family.
“I was getting very concerned that it was going to go the other way,” he told media this afternoon.
Mr Lewis thanked the police, volunteers and emergency services for their help in searching for his daughter.
“Even though I’m buggered, that’s why I’ve come out here, just to thank the community for everything they’ve done,” he said.
“That’s how she was found, so it just goes to show when we rally together just how well we can do.”
Earlier today, Jocelyn’s family issued a desperate plea for help finding the little girl after she ran away from her home at 4:30pm on July 24, triggering an amber alert.
Speaking at a press conference this morning, the five-year-old’s aunt, Jenny Willmott, said Jocelyn has attempted to run away previously, but never stayed away for this length of time.
“Jocelyn’s favourite game is hide and seek and we are very, very concerned that she is out there hiding at the moment. And that’s why we’re asking everyone to double check their backyards,” she said.
In a statement issued earlier today, Queensland Police encouraged people living in Alexander Drive, Hinkler Drive, Explorer Way and surrounds to thoroughly search their yards, sheds, pools and other hiding spots.
They encouraged anyone searching for the child to call out her name and report any sightings to police immediately.
“If you locate Jocelyn, do not approach her as she suffers from a medical condition and may not react as expected,” the QPS statement reads.
Image: Queensland Police.
As the search for the little girl approached 24 hours, more than 160 emergency services and SES volunteers continued to comb a 4km radius around Carrara and Worongary area.
“We’re still confident,” Inspector Scott McQueen told reporters this morning.
“There’s no other information received contrary to the fact that this was a misadventure. So whilst we have to consider all options, we’re remaining hopeful that the search will continue and we will locate this young girl.”
As the search effort continued, local residents in the Nerang area left out care packages and blankets in the hope that young Jocelyn may find them.
Images: Jayden Duck and Kaya Blaiir.
Willmott today described her niece as "beautiful natured", but stressed that she also can be wary of others, particularly strangers.
"Jocelyn can be in one of two moods, sometimes she can be happy, bubbly and will come to you and be beautiful," she said.
"Other times she can be scared and if she is scared she may run."