Watchdog to look into Kiesha’s welfare

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NSW Ombudsman Bruce Barbour said on Thursday he would make inquiries into “relevant activities by key agencies” in the weeks leading up to the disappearance of six-year-old Kiesha four days ago.


Kiesha, who was reported missing from her home at Mount Druitt in western Sydney on Sunday morning, is not believed to have been seen by anyone outside her immediate family since July 7.

Her mother Kristi Abrahams, stepfather Robert Smith and biological father Christopher Weippeart spent several hours on Wednesday helping police with their inquiries at Mount Druitt police station.

Detectives were tight-lipped on Thursday about whether they had gleaned any new leads or insights from the interviews.

Earlier this week, police said they were investigating reports the family had been in contact with the NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS).

Kiesha ‘not seen at school for weeks’

They confirmed Kiesha had not been to school for the past three weeks, amid reports she had attended school on only a handful of days this year. School attendance in NSW is compulsory from the age of six.

Mr Barbour said he would not comment further “due to the sensitivity of the matter” but said his inquiries followed “concerns” raised in recent days.

As ombudsman, Mr Barbour is responsible for the oversight of the delivery of community services in NSW.

But he has the power to make his own inquiries into issues within his jurisdiction, when there is significant public interest.

NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell said on Thursday the government needed to reassure the public this was not another incident where a child known to DoCS had been ignored.

“I think what the public wants to know today is firstly where is Kiesha and secondly to be reassured that the circumstances that led to previous tragedy haven’t been repeated here in some way,” he told reporters in Sydney.

Premirer denies to comment

NSW Premier Kristina Keneally has declined to comment on whether Kiesha was known to DoCs.

“Our focus in the disappearance of Kiesha Abrahams is very much focused on the police search for this missing little girl, and the police are continuing their extensive search right now,” she said on Thursday.

Police continued to search in the surrounding suburbs of Mount Druitt, and police divers probed some of the local waterways, a State Crime Command spokeswoman said.

Door-to-door inquiries are also continuing.

Ms Abrahams says she last saw her daughter when she tucked her into bed about 9.30pm (AEST) on Saturday night at her unit on Woodstock Avenue.

The next morning, Kiesha’s bed was empty and the front door was ajar, although there was no sign of a forced entry, and her family have speculated she may have let herself out.

Ms Abrahams has begged the public to stop judging her.

“They need to stop judging me, they don’t know me,” a visibly distressed Ms Abrahams told Channel Seven news on Wednesday.

Ms Abrahams said Kiesha had been “with me” for the previous three weeks.

Anyone who has seen Kiesha, who is about 140cm tall with blonde hair and blue eyes and was wearing pink pyjamas and a purple Pumpkin Patch jacket, should phone Mount Druitt police station on 9675 0000 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.