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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 08:45 GMT 09:45 UK
Body found in abandoned girl case
From left: Qian Xun Xue, Xue Nai Zin, Annie Xue
Police had expressed grave fears for Ms Xue
Police searching for the parents of a girl abandoned at a train station in Australia have found the body of a woman in a car at the girl's home.

The body was found in the boot of the car outside the home in Auckland, New Zealand. Police have not confirmed it is the girl's mother, Annie Xue.

Three-year-old Qian Xun Xue - known as Pumpkin until identified on Monday - was found in Melbourne on Saturday.

Police believe her father, Xue Nai Zin, fled to the US after dumping her.

Post-mortem

New Zealand police had earlier said they had grave concerns for the safety of 27-year-old Ms Xue, adding that there had been a history of domestic violence.

TIMELINE
Qian Xun Xue
10 Sept: Last sighting of mother Annie Xue
13 Sept: Father Xue Nai Zin arrives in Australia from Auckland with Qian Xun Xue
15 Sept: CCTV shows Xue Nai Zin abandoning Qian Xun Xue at Melbourne train station. He later flies to LA
19 Sept: NZ police find body of woman outside family home in Auckland

Ms Xue, a Chinese national also known as Anan Liu, has not been seen since 10 September.

New Zealand police said the body had been found in a car belonging to Xue Nai Zin, 54.

Detective Senior Sergeant Simon Scott said the body had not been formally identified and there would be a post-mortem examination on Thursday.

Sr Sgt Scott defended police actions in not opening the boot of the car for two days.

"We won't be rushed into doing anything and will take the utmost care in examining the key item in what is now most definitely a homicide investigation."

He urged Mr Xue to hand himself in to authorities.

Mr Xue - a Chinese-language magazine publisher who had lived in New Zealand for 10 years - had arrived in Australia with his daughter from Auckland on Thursday.

Staff at Southern Cross railway station in Australia's second largest city found the girl crying and alone on Saturday.

They named her Pumpkin after the brand of clothing she was wearing at the time.

Car in murder probe
New Zealand police defended not searching the car for two days

Security cameras showed Mr Xue walking from the train platform wheeling a suitcase, leaving the girl behind.

Just hours later, Mr Xue fled to the US city of Los Angeles, Australian police say.

The girl is now in the care of a foster family in the Australian state of Victoria.

She will stay with the family for at least three weeks, Department of Human Services (DHS) spokesman Brendan Ryan said.

"She was distressed early in the week when she was asking for mummy but [the foster family] have done a cracking job in supporting her and comforting her," Mr Ryan said.

There are plans for the girl's grandmother to fly to Australia or New Zealand from China to begin custody proceedings, New Zealand media said.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
New Zealand police make a statement about the case




SEE ALSO
Abandoned girl sparks global hunt
18 Sep 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: New Zealand
05 Jun 07 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Australia
21 Aug 07 |  Country profiles

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