A three-year-old NSW girl whose identity was a mystery for eight hours will remain in care overnight, despite her mother being located.
The little girl, who told police her name is Monique or Nikki, was discovered wandering alone through Springfield on the NSW Central Coast around 10am (AEST) on Sunday morning.
Police officers canvassed the local area while Monique spent the day at Gosford police station, but no one was able to shed light on her identity.
A photo of the blonde-haired little girl went viral on the NSW Police Facebook page, garnering 167,000 views in just a few hours.Eventually, information from the public led police to the child’s mother around 6pm (AEST).
The woman told officers there had been a mix-up between family members over the pre-schooler’s caring arrangements.
Her identity was eventually confirmed, with police saying ‘‘strict questions’’ would be asked as to how the little girl came to be wandering around on her own.
The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) was alerted as soon as Monique was found and she will remain in care overnight, a police spokeswoman said.‘
‘She hasn’t been returned to her family yet,’’ the spokeswoman said. FACS would reassess the case in the morning, she added.