All of Australia breathed a collective sigh of relief when five-year-old Jocelyn Lewis was found safe and sound 22 hours after she went missing.
The girl from Nerang, Queensland, wandered from her family home on Sunday afternoon before being found with little more than a few scratches and bruises. Volunteers spotted her in tall grass in an industrial area only minutes from home.
But despite the happy ending, her mother claims she has been bullied.
Jocelyn Lewis was found by two volunteers. Post continues after video…
Kelly Lewis, who co-parents Jocelyn with her ex Steve, says she has been slammed for choosing to stay out of the spotlight while the frantic search was underway, Kidspot reports.
She said she stayed behind the 7-Eleven store which served as central base during the search.
“And because of that I’ve been called a drug addict, an alcoholic and a bad mum to name a few,” she said.
She called out people for being so quick to judge her in what were already trying times.
“At the end of the day, those who don’t know the full circumstances have no right to judge, best to keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself, because for those going through the actual occurrence need support and strength not attacking,” she said.
Kelly also described the moment Jocelyn disappeared, detailing how she arrived at Steve's home on Sunday to take her daughter to her place for the week.
“She was putting something in my car while I was packing up the last of her bag. When I didn’t hear the car door open or close I looked through the window and saw the gate ajar – and that’s how it all started," she told Kidspot.
Kelly said she felt "sick to the stomach and light-headed" throughout the ordeal before she was reunited with her daughter.
Kelly said she would never truly know what Jocelyn, who has ADHD, experienced because she hadn't had her medication, allowing her imagination to run wild.
Jocelyn has run away in the past, but on the first occasion she was only missing for just over an hour.