Heartwarming moment missing girl meets her rescuer decades later

Kathy Wrethman was found after three days vanished in 1968
Caption: Heartwarming moment missing tot finally meets rescuer years later

PIctures: BBC / Getty

Over 35 years ago, Kathy Wrethman vanished from her family’s home in New South Wales.

For three days in June 1986 there was no trace of the toddler.

That was, until a group of boys stumbled upon the three-year-old, alive and well, and wandering in a creek.

Kathy was returned to her delighted family, grew up in Australia and went on to have a family of her own.

And now, almost four decades later, she has been reunited with one of her rescuers.

In an emotional interview with the BBC, Kathy was introduced to Mark Burn, one of the three young men whose decision to skip school saved her life.

Mark told her: ‘We weren’t good boys at school, but we had a good outcome that day.’

Overcome with emotion, Kathy burst into tears upon realising who the man at the other end of the video call was.

‘This is a dream,’ she said.

‘Thank you is not enough. I love you and you’re always going to be my hero.’

Mark showed Kathy a watch gifted to him by her parents, engraved with the words ‘Thank you from Kathy to Mark.’ ‘

The watch still works to this day, Mark explained proudly in the clip.

The touching reunion was made possible due to research by BBC journalist John Kay, who is looking into the disappearance of Cheryl Grimmer in 1970.

The recovery of Kathy Wrethman. (Photo by Golding; Mervyn George Bishop; Short/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
Kathy Wrethman was found alive and well three days after she went missing (Picture: Getty Images)

Unlike Kathy, young Cheryl was never seen again. But the two cases still bore striking similarities.

Both girls were around the same age, had arrived in Australia from the UK and had both lived in migrant hostels just an hour apart from each other.

Not knowing what happened to her during the three days of her abduction is ‘mind boggling’ Kathy said.

Her hair had been cut short and all she was able to tell police was that she had been abducted by a man.

She had been found by Mark and the two other boys around 20 miles from her family’s home.

Kathy and her mother at the airport.Mr. and Mrs. John Wrethman, and their children including the now famous Kathy, 2????, left Sydney Airport for a holiday in Norfolk Island. June 26, 1968. (Photo by Trevor James Robert Dallen/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
Kathy and her mother at Sydney Airport in 1968 (Picture: Getty Images)
Kathy at the airport.Mr. and Mrs. John Wrethman with Angus, 5 and Kathy, 2???? at the Airport. June 27, 1968. (Photo by Trevor James Robert Dallen/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
Kathy says she feels lucky to be alive (Picture: Getty Images)

She said: ‘The person that took me didn’t hurt me. I can’t remember a lot.

‘I can only remember a dog and being in a room.

‘I do remember someone coming in and opening the door and saying go to sleep.

‘And the dog, I think it was an Alsatian.’

The interview marked the first time that Kathy has ever talked about the disappearance to the public.

She added: ‘I feel like the luckiest lady in the world.’

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