Police probe whether missing NSW toddler AJ, 3, was kidnapped before being ...

Police probe whether missing NSW toddler AJ, 3, was kidnapped before being ...
Police probe whether missing NSW toddler AJ, 3, was kidnapped before being ...

When three-year-old AJ was miraculously discovered by a rescue helicopter deep in the bush 72 hours after he went missing from his family home, Australia breathed a sigh of relief.

But the saga may only just be beginning, with police still examining the curious disappearance - including the possibility he was kidnapped and later released.  

There were scenes of jubilation when young Anthony 'AJ' Elfalak was finally located by Pol Air helicopter drinking from a creek on his family's 256ha rural property in Putty, about 150km north-west of Sydney in the Upper Hunter, on Monday.

He had disappeared from his family's property on Friday lunchtime, leading to a desperate search with his parents convinced he was abducted.

Now the police investigation is continuing, with some senior detectives in the NSW Police Force say 'there are of lot of things that don't add up' including claims of missing CCTV footage from the family property. 

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Raising suspicion for seasoned investigators is how the toddler, who has autism and is non-verbal, could have survived without anything to eat for 72 hours in temperatures that dropped to 2C - emerging with just a few scratches from three nights alone in the harsh terrain.

Anthony 'AJ' Elfalak was missing for 72 hours before he was miraculously found alive after being spotted 500m from the family home by a rescue helicopter

Anthony 'AJ' Elfalak was missing for 72 hours before he was miraculously found alive after being spotted 500m from the family home by a rescue helicopter

The Elfalak family with father Anthony, mother Kelly, AJ (pictured centre) and two of his brothers were delighted to be reunited with the three-year-old on Monday

The Elfalak family with father Anthony, mother Kelly, AJ (pictured centre) and two of his brothers were delighted to be reunited with the three-year-old on Monday

Police are also baffled that the child turned up in the creek just 500 meters away from their home, evading highly-trained sniffer dogs since Friday as well as a helicopter fitted with infrared technology and hundreds of searchers scouring the nearby bush. 

A white ute was also reported to have driven away from the property around the time AJ disappeared, with a similar vehicle seized by police on Sunday, as well as CCTV from a service station 40km away. 

There are also claims more crucial CCTV footage had 'gone missing' at the rural property with family friend Alan Hashem, who was at the property at the time AJ went missing, claiming that someone may have tampered with security cameras he had installed on a tree high above the remote bushland road outside the home.

Mr Hashem said footage was now missing during the four-hour window when AJ vanished.

'How did he leave, who did he leave with? Did anything sinister happen? These are questions that need to still be answered and we will not stop until we actually find the truth,' he said on Monday.

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AJ (pictured in the ambulance) with reunited with his parents and brothers before being taken to Singleton Hospital - but police are still investigating

AJ (pictured in the ambulance) with reunited with his parents and brothers before being taken to Singleton Hospital - but police are still investigating 

SES search crews (pictured) spent the weekend searching the area for the boy before he was found by a rescue helicopter on Monday

SES search crews (pictured) spent the weekend searching the area for the boy before he was found by a rescue helicopter on Monday

Father Anthony Elfalak and mother Kelly Elfalak (pictured together) moved to the rural property earlier this year with their children

Father Anthony Elfalak and mother Kelly Elfalak (pictured together) moved to the rural property earlier this year with their children

He also explained that the cameras set up in the area were installed high enough to make them near-impossible to tamper with, but somehow key footage was missing. 

'There's one key factor and this probably the first time I actually mentioned this, I installed cameras on that post right there,' he told the Today show on Monday.

'There's footage missing, unexplained. (We have footage from) days before, days after, but not during the time.

'You know what's more alarming? We installed it so high you can't tamper with it and we had two mechanisms of storage - cloud storage and physical storage - and there's no data in that time slot.

'We provided the user name and password to the police, we provided them the actual original memory card. Theryese's a lot of explaining to do.'

The claims come as it's revealed Strike Force Raptor police, tasked with investigating the murky world of bikie crime, was 'among the groups assisting with the missing persons

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