February 7, 2023

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She was kidnapped when she was 2 years old from the stairs of her home – she was rescued by 3 schoolchildren

woman kidnapped When she was two years old, she spoke of the feelings of terror she felt when her captor held her.

Cathy Worthman was sitting on the steps of her home in Dundas, west of Sydney, when she was kidnapped on June 12, 1968.

The kidnapping sparked a massive police manhunt, with the military involved in the pursuit, before it was found three days later by three teenagers who had skipped school.

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How was she kidnapped?

Cathy broke her silence to recount the terrifying ordeal, saying she remembers being locked in a room and told to sleep by a man.

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“And I remember being afraid of a dog, a German shepherd. It was under my bed and it kept licking my face,” she told 7Life.

Kathy and her family arrived in Australia just three weeks ago after emigrating from the UK.

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Kathy was sitting on her front steps eating lollipops the day she was kidnapped. She had just come home to her mother after dropping her brother Angus off at school and her little sister Maria was asleep at home.

Cathy Worthman was sitting on the front steps of her home in Dundas, west of Sydney, when she was kidnapped on June 12, 1968.

Her mother entered the house to quickly go to the bathroom and only when she returned to the front yard did she find her daughter who had been missing.

A local resident said he saw Cathy walking alongside a red-haired man and noticed the little girl was crying – but the man told him Cathy had “fallen off a slide”.

Kathy said she didn’t remember much about her kidnapping, but she did remember upsetting someone by “bothering” something while she was sitting in the front of the car.

How did the three boys who were expelled from school find her?

The search and rescue mission has reached its third day when three teenagers who jump out of school run into Cathy.

Mark Byrne, John Findlay and Geoffrey O’Neill were walking through the streets of Wallan, 30 kilometers from where Kathy disappeared, when they heard a sob in a field.

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The three students spot a girl with short hair and immediately recognize her as Cathy after seeing her picture on TV.

The teens were afraid they would get into trouble for missing school, so they asked a shopkeeper to take care of it, but instead they were encouraged to wait for the police.

The community welcomed the boys as heroes and Kathy’s father gave them watches.

Mark Byrne, John Findley, and Jeffrey O'Neill
Mark Byrne, John Findlay and Geoffrey O’Neill were walking through the streets of Whalen, 30 kilometers from where Kathy disappeared, when they heard a cry

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Cathy is reunited with one of the three men who found her

Cathy lost contact with the students over the next few years and only reunited with one when they were approached by a BBC journalist reporting on her condition in 2021.

In an emotional interview, Kathy told the BBC that she always wanted to be reunited with her rescuers and thanked them. “I would hug them,” she said. Which he finally managed to do. “I want to introduce you to someone,” said reporter John Kay.

Cathy is stunned when a smiling Byrne appears on screen and greets her. Years and years, said Mark Byrne.

After the video ends, Mark shows Kathy the watch her parents bought him to thank him for finding it in 1968. The back of the watch is engraved with “Thanks from Kathy for Mark”.

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Cathy’s case remains unsolved, as the police have been unable to identify her kidnapper.

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