Critical Alert

UPDATE: Police believe father took missing baby south

UPDATE: POLICE have urged a father who disappeared with his son from Gympie almost a week ago to visit a police station. 

Gympie mother Tahlia Ward is desperate for proof her son Samuel Snowdon is safe and well, after the child's father Earle Snowdon drove away with the baby boy in his lap during an access visit.

"It's crippling inside," she said. 

"We've just got to find out where his is."

Detective Inspector David Briese urged Mr Snowdon, if he is reading this, to present himself and Samuel to a police station so officers can see the child is safe. 

"[Mr Snowdon] is not in any trouble, we just want to make sure the baby is okay," he told the Gympie Times.

Samuel Snowden playing in the park on Saturday November 19, just before his father drove away with him in his car.
Samuel Snowden playing in the park on Saturday November 19, just before his father drove away with him in his car. Contributed

Police believe Mr Snowdon and Samuel may have passed through Stanthorpe on Wednesday November 23, and may now be in New South Wales.

Ms Ward said Mr Snowdon has contacts in Sydney, and may be headed there. 

Queensland police media released a missing persons alert this morning, calling for any information on the whereabouts of Mr Snowdon and Samuel.

The pair may be travelling in a black 2009 Ford XR6 (similar to the one pictured) with Queensland registration 818-VZR or New South Wales Registration BVL-27U.

Earle Snowden may be travelling in a car similar to this.
Earle Snowden may be travelling in a car similar to this. Contributed

Ms Ward said every day waiting for news was becoming more and more difficult.

"As far as I know, Earle has no money and hasn't accessed his bank account," Ms Ward told the Gympie Times yesterday. 

"My main focus is to find out he's okay."

THURSDAY: TODAY marks the sixth day since Samuel Ward disappeared.

Gympie mother Tahlia Ward last saw her 11-month-old son Samuel on Saturday November 19, before his grandmother Marea Ryan took him to the duck ponds at Lake Alford Park for a scheduled access visit with his father.

Now the family and police are desperately searching for the child, after the boy's father, Earle Snowdon, drove away with the child on his lap during that visit.

Now five days after Samuel disappeared, Ms Ward said her fears for his safety were mounting.

"The first few days you live in hope, and then it gets harder and harder, the grief sets in," Ms Ward said.

"Just today, I just feel like I'm paralysed by shock."

Mrs Ryan had turned her back for a moment, and had been packing Samuel's pram away in her car when Mr Snowdon walked to his own car with Samuel, sat in the driver's seat with Samuel on his lap and started the engine.

When Mrs Ryan, alarmed, asked what he was doing, he told her he was showing Samuel his car.

"Then he just wound up the window as he was saying, 'I'm taking him for the night,' and Sammy was crying... and he drove off," Ms Ward said.

Ms Ward's family clung to the hope that Mr Snowdon would bring Samuel back, but that never happened.

In the days since, Mr Snowdon has called police to tell them Samuel was still alive, but refused to reveal his location.

Ms Ward said Mr Snowdon has family in Sydney he may be staying with.

He has not withdrawn any money from his accounts, and Ms Ward has been unable to find him through any of his friends.

But at this stage, police would not be able to bring back Samuel if they did find him because Mr Snowdon is his biological father.

They would only be able to retrieve Samuel if he appeared to be injured or neglected.

Ms Ward is working to put a recovery order in place, which would allow police to bring Samuel home.

"Hopefully, the courts do approve the recovery order and will lift the search restrictions... and then police can do a more involved search."

She said she was grateful for everyone's kindness and help in the search for Samuel.

"I still believe, as a mother, no-one will care about my son more than me."

Samuel was dressed in a blue Mickey Mouse singlet and red Mickey Mouse shorts when he was taken, and has blue eyes.

Mr Snowdon, 39, can be identified by a large sore on the left side of his head.

A family friend said Samuel had never spent the night with his father, who has only had supervised visits since Samuel's birth.

Topics:  child editors picks gympie missing missing person

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