Life changed in a horrific instant for a dedicated father named Harry Speath. In December 2014, Harry went to pick his kids up from their school in Brisbane, Australia.
But 5-year-old Serena and 4-year-old Thomas never walked through the gates.
In fact, the school said Serena and Thomas hadn’t been to class in days.
Thus began a tireless and gut-wrenching search for the pair of missing siblings. The last time Harry saw Serena and Thomas, they were with their mother — his ex-wife. He feared she’d taken them to Europe and vanished.
Harry spent a fortune on finding his babies. He hired a team of professionals and flew all over the world.
But Serena and Thomas weren’t enrolled in any new schools across the state and their Medicare cards hadn’t been used.
Still, he never gave up hope.
Nearly three years passed, with no sign of the children. Then in May 2017, age progression experts published brand-new photo manipulations to show what Serena and Thomas would look like. The images helped to intensify the search.
Seven months later, the case took a stunning turn…
In December 2014, Harry Speath arrived at his ex-wife’s home to pick up their two kids, per their arranged custody agreement. But no one answered the door.
The next day, Harry went to the children’s school in Brisbane, Australia, hoping to pick them up.
But 5-year-old Serena and 4-year-old Thomas never walked through the school gates.
Much to Harry’s horror, the school said Serena and Thomas hadn’t been to class in days.
Thus began three gut-wrenching years, as Harry worked closely and tirelessly alongside police to find his missing children and their mother, his former wife from whom he was estranged.
The investigation led to many false tips and frustrating setbacks.
Harry initially feared the kids’ mother took them to Europe, since she holds dual-citizenship in the United Kingdom.
What made things even more confusing and troubling was the fact Serena and Thomas were not enrolled in any school across the state.
Plus, their Medicare cards had not been used. It was as if Serena and Thomas had disappeared into thin air.
But Harry — now 61 years old — refused to give up hope.
He utilized whatever resources he possibly could. He spent his money on lawyers, private investigators, and child recovery specialists. He set up a Facebook page dedicated to finding his beloved Serena and Thomas. He shared his story with publications and news outlets.
Soon, Harry had garnered support from people all over the country.
In May 2017, age progression experts from the United States published updated photo sketches to show what Serena and Thomas would look like.
The widely circulated images helped boost the investigation.
Three years had passed and search for the siblings grew even more intense.
“In Canberra for the launch of the International Missing Children’s Day,” Harry wrote on Facebook. “With the large scale age progressed images of Serena & Thomas provided by the AFP’s missing children’s unit, to whom I’ll be forever grateful.”
As the 2017 holiday season approached, Harry took to Facebook with an emotional post dedicated to his children on the anniversary of their disappearance. He wrote:
Today I am reflecting on a monumental milestone in the time line since the abduction of my children by their mother. It is three years exactly since I’ve obtained any news as to their education, health, wellbeing and so many other things that any concerned parent takes for granted.
It’s been three sets of birthdays (both theirs and mine), Christmases, Easters, Father’s Days, three years worth of holidays, countless visits to their paternal grandmum, aunt and indeed their half brother’s visits from his overseas work assignments. In that time, none of us has had the normal family pleasures taken for granted by normal folks.
So what can I say to my children on this horrid anniversary? I guess all I can say is that I don’t know when I’ll see you guys. I hope it’s soon. I know you guys don’t know what all the above stuff is about, and I don’t expect you to — until you are much, much older.
In the meantime. I love you both very, very much.
I’m sending you guys many, many, many hugs & kisses across the miles between us, no matter how far.
The story of the kids’ disappearance continued to be pushed out through the media.
Every year since the kids disappeared, Harry burned candles for Serena and Thomas on May 25, International Missing Children’s Day.
And then, one day in December 2017, Harry’s seemingly endless search had finally come to an end.
Australian Federal Police officers showed up at his doorstep with two early Christmas presents: his missing kids.
Serena and Thomas, now 9 and 8, were found in the Sunshine Coast hinterland with their mother — nearly 100 miles from where they vanished.
Police say the siblings were “parentally abducted.”
According to Child Find of America, “Missing children can be victims of family abduction, non-family abduction, or they can be runaways. An estimated 203,900 children were victims of a family abduction in 1999. A family abduction occurs when a family member takes or keeps a child in violation of the custodial parent’s/guardian’s legitimate rights.”
While their mother appeared before the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, Harry reconnected with his kids.
They’re now back together at home, rebuilding three years of missed memories.
“Thank you so much for all your support,” Harry wrote to his supporters.
“This is the best Christmas present.”
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