Redland community members were out in force searching for a dog belonging to a couple who were fatally struck by a car while walking their pets at Alexandra Hills, in Redland City east of Brisbane on Tuesday.
- Redlands residents searched day and night to find a couple’s dog which took off after a car killed its owners
- The dog, named Frankie, was found in bushland with the help of another local dog named Hermy
- The Redland community is said to be ‘devastated’ and ‘angry’
Katherine Leadbetter, who was pregnant, and her partner, Matthew Field were killed by a car Tuesday evening.
A 17-year-old male has been remanded in custody by the Children’s Court after being charged with two counts of murder.
The teenager is accused of being “adversely affected by an intoxicating substance” when driving the alleged stolen vehicle.
The search for one of the couple’s dogs Frankie, who ran away after the crash, began on Tuesday night when it was discovered she had Addison’s disease and required medication twice daily.
Alexandra Hills resident Kelly Gilbert did not hesitate to join the search and brought her nine-year-old Labrador x kelpie named Hermonie or “Hermy” along to help.
“I couldn’t bear to think of this poor dog, after what it had witnessed, being stuck out there in the bushlands, alone, scared and possibly quite injured,” Ms Gilbert told ABC Radio Brisbane.
“I’d just thought I’d get out there and give it a go and hope that I could find her.
She said she saw the Facebook page that had been created for Find Frankie and that she hadn’t been found.
“I never expected in a million years to be able to find her given she had been missing for such a long period of time.”
Ms Gilbert said she decided to search off the walking tracks that had already been scoured by community members overnight and that morning.
“I headed down towards McDonald Road where I knew there was some water and thought that maybe she was tired, she was exhausted, it was quite a hot day today so she might be near a source of water.
“I took my girl with me [Hermy], for no other reason than she’s got a reasonably good nose and she absolutely loves dogs.
“I thought if I let her off-lead, we might be able to track Frankie down.”
Ms Gilbert said she, Hermy and some others searching kept following the water source, trekking through water, mud and bushland.
“I couldn’t believe it to be honest.”
“I had to call over the girl that I was searching with, who knew the family, just to make sure I’d actually found the right dog.”
Ms Gilbert said if she had stuck to the walking tracks, Frankie would never have been found.
Searching day and night
Redland City councillor Rowanne McKenzie was among the community, police and pets out searching.
“Some members were out until the early hours of the morning trying to find her,” Cr McKenzie said.
“It was a really heart-warming response to what has been a tragic accident.
“The family was just overwhelmingly grateful for the community support and that the community rallied together to find Frankie.
“The community, not knowing who those people were, just wanted to do something to help this family and the friends of the couple.”
Cr McKenzie said it was her understanding that the vet had waved the fees for Frankie.
A GoFundMe account was created to pay for Frankie’s vet frees and has already raised more than $3,000 on Wednesday.
Community ‘devasted’, ‘angry’
Police allege the teenager had stolen a 4WD about an hour before the crash from a home in nearby Cleveland.
He then allegedly deliberately collided with a car at the corner of Vienna and Finucane Roads before speeding away, Assistant Commissioner for the Brisbane region Brian Codd said.
Fifteen minutes later, it is alleged he returned to the same intersection, ran a red light, crashed into an oncoming truck and then rolled onto Ms Leadbetter, 31, and Mr Field, 37.
Cr McKenzie said the community was devasted and angry at what had happened to the couple.
“They are angry at the system that allowed this alleged offender to be out on bail and steal and car and now three people’s lives have been lost,” Cr McKenzie said.
“It could have been any one of us that was out taking our dogs for a walk and been senselessly killed.
Ms Gilbert said she walked that corner all the time.
“I would just hope that if something happened to me while I was out walking my dogs, that the community would go out looking for one of them,” Ms Gilbert said.
“It’s not any consolation for the family. It’s not going to bring the young couple back but at least they were able to reunite their dogs again.”
Ms Gilbert wrote on the Find Frankie Facebook page: “I can confirm Hermy will be getting a steak for dinner tonight”.
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