Finding Frankie gives shocked community a purpose
During times of great tragedy, Queenslanders pull together stronger than ever.
The ordinary people of suburbia united yesterday to find Kate Leadbetter and Matty Field's beloved dog Frankie, providing a glimmer of light in the nightmare that is the Alexandra Hills crash.
It was almost a collective act of contrition - as if the hastily convened search party was so appalled at such a senseless tragedy they felt a desperate urge to participate in an act of kindness, if only to create a counterpoint to the evil.
When Matty Field and his pregnant partner Kate Leadbetter were struck by that car on Finucane Rd on a lazy Australia Day afternoon, Frankie, whom they were taking for a walk with another of their dogs, fled in terror.
A local resident had a photo of Frankie and put it on social media. And from there a spontaneous suburban search party was under way for a terrified dog who also happened to need medication for Addison's disease (decreased hormone production).
One resident reportedly got hold of a thermal scope and stayed out in bushland until 2am while others took to cars to scour the streets.
Such was the determination of this makeshift search party. And by early yesterday morning the story had a happy ending when Frankie was found deep inside local bushland, and carried out in the arms of rescuers.
Redland city councillor Rowanne McKenzie had been out searching with many other residents and said Frankie was found dehydrated and exhausted about 800m into the dense bushland.
"A lot of people had tears when she was found," Cr McKenzie said.
"Members of the community carried Frankie out to the arms of family members who have taken her to the vet."
Frankie's rescuers soothed the frightened pooch, scratching her behind the ears as she drank from a water container.
It was a shining light on an otherwise dark day.
"The amazing community pulling together to find this beautiful girl is so heartwarming. It makes me proud to be part of a beautiful community like this," one Facebook user wrote.
Another proclaimed: "Well done to all involved. This tragedy is heartbreaking and this is the best outcome in an otherwise devastating situation.''
"Devastating'' doesn't quite capture the scope of this tragedy which, in a split second, effectively ended three lives which contained so much promise.
Throughout the day and into the night, the people of the Redlands and Brisbane paid their respects to the young couple at the intersection, which by nightfall was dotted with flowers as a vigil got under way.
It hit home - two people killed, with so much life ahead of them, while innocently walking on Australia Day.
Birkdale resident Chanelle Kapea felt compelled to pay her respects.
"My partner and I are of similar age (as the victims) and we have two dogs that we walk every day," Ms Kapea said. "It was a really nice evening out yesterday and it was Australia Day. And the Redlands feels like a really safe place which shakes us up most."
Detective Inspector for the East Crime Group Steve Hollands - who drives through that same intersection every day - said he too felt the need to pay his respects at the tragic scene. Not just on behalf of the police service, but for himself and his children.
"I thought it was important for the Queensland Police Service to be represented here to show our condolences to the poor victims involved and pay our respects to all the members of the public who intervened, provided assistance to the victims and located the offender," he said.
Mayor Karen Williams said the tragedy had sent shockwaves through the tight-knit Redlands community.
"Along with the Redlands Coast and broader community I am shocked and extremely saddened by the very tragic incident," she said.
"I know the Redlands Coast is a caring tight-knit community that will be sharing the grief and will be willing to assist wherever they can.
"My thoughts and prayers are with all who have been impacted by it, especially the families and friends of the victims.
"I also wish to thank those local community members who responded at the scene, along with those who continued to search for Frankie."
Originally published as Finding Frankie gives shocked community a purpose