Safe: Wally Muhieddine with his wife, Suzanne, are reunited with daughter Krystal. Photo: James Brickwood
Fourteen-year-old Krystal Muhieddine - who disappeared with a 17-year-old male she met through a social media app - has told how she was terrified when they slept in a tent and wondered if she would make it through the night.
Now home with her parents in Hunters Hill, she told Fairfax how they bought bread, Nutella, tuna and pizzas, and made spaghetti on a fire.
She said: ''He had money, we went to the shops and got some food … We toasted marshmallows. I had never had them like that. We were kind of just clearing our heads, there wasn't really much going on just lying down and doing nothing. Walking on the trails.''
The year 8 student at Santa Sabina College in Strathfield was seen at 5.30am on Tuesday driving away from her home in the passenger seat of a silver hatchback.
When her parents collected her in the rural Victorian town of Colac on Friday, she was holding the teddy bear her father had said she slept with.
Asked if she realised her parents Wally and Suzanne Muhieddine would be worried, Krystal said: ''Of course. I was a bit scared to kind of turn on my phone. I was just waiting for when I was ready to call them. I missed everyone. I knew they were probably going through a hard time. I wasn't thinking straight.
''I was stressed from school and work and then just got oversensitive about everything. In my own little head I was making excuses to get mad to make myself feel better.
''I was upset and I made a decision based on my anger. I should have thought it through more and talked to my parents.''
She said she had met the 17-year-old boy from Sydney through the messaging app called Kik. She had gone to a cinema with him the previous weekend, but told her parents she was seeing a girlfriend.
Asked if she felt safe with him, she said: ''I felt safe but you're in an environment that you don't know, like anything could happen.
''It's so scary and terrifying. At night you are thinking, 'Am I going to make it until tomorrow?' It's terrible and I shouldn't have put myself through that. I shouldn't have put my family or my friends through it.''
Asked if she wanted to stay in touch with the 17-year-old, she said: ''He's a friend. Just because we made a mistake, it doesn't mean I can't be friends with him.''
Mr Muhieddine, who works in television advertising, said he was still hearing details of what happened for the first time but said she was a clever, well-adjusted child.
''She's sophisticated and she is a baby, she's only 14 and yet she made this mistake.
''Parents shouldn't take for granted that their kids won't make this mistake. As far as we are aware, it has all been pretty innocent and harmless and while that's the information we have got, we are happy to forgive him and move on and our hearts go out to his parents.''
He said they would discuss how to manage the idea of Krystal staying in contact with the youth.
''I don't know the point of saying to a teenager you can't do something if they really want to do it. We are going to go the other way and just try and manage those things so that it isn't driving any behaviour underground.''
He said it was disappointing that they couldn't get more information when they first uncovered a lead pointing to the Kik app. The first feedback they got indicated that unless someone was dead or it was a case of child molestation or pornography, no one was interested in giving any information.
''As a parent looking for your child, you don't want to hear that your only lead is going to take four or five days.
''We knew she was chatting with boys. We don't have a problem with that. It becomes an issue when you lose control of the situation, which is what happened to us and it wasn't because we were naive or negligent. We were watching Krystal like a hawk because she's young.
''As parents, we now need to rethink what we need to do. What my daughter did was meet someone online. After meeting them face-to-face once, she got in the car with them. That is terrifying.''
Police said that the male youth had not been arrested or charged.