A volunteer — one of hundreds who took part in the search south of the Western Australia state capital of Perth — found them two miles from the home where Dakota Vincent and Trista Foley were staying with their parents when they disappeared.
“I heard what I thought was human voices and couldn’t believe my ears,” said Merrilyn Hutton, who found the children. “I moved towards the sound ... then standing beside the scrub was a little red head and then a little white head popped up too.
“I just gathered them both up and she said ‘Mummy’ and I said: ‘No, I’m not mummy, but I’m going to take you to mummy’,” she said.
Police Sgt. Graham Clifford said the pair spent about 26 hours outdoors, including a night when an inch of rain fell and temperatures were 52 degrees with cold winds.
“They were in amazing condition, a little bit grubby and they had dirty socks, but they weren’t crying and they were very with it,” Hutton said.
Dakota and Trista, still dressed in the pyjamas they had been wearing when they wandered off, were reunited with their emotional parents shortly afterwards.
Trista Foley’s father, Daniel, said he would not let his daughter out of his sight again. “I’m just going to grab hold of her and tie a rope around her waist and not let her go until she is 34,” he said.