A recovery order has been issued for abducted child, Layla Leisha, missing since 2014.
A recovery order has been issued for abducted child, Layla Leisha, missing since 2014.

Urgent plea to help find 'the child Australia forgot'

THE accused father in Australia's longest-running case of parental child abduction has spoken to the media as the investigation to find him and his daughter is stepped up.

Information handed to The Morning Bulletin suggests Rockhampton man, Shahrainer Eric Shem Leisha, also known by many aliases, including Kooradaman Darngee, may be planning to take his daughter to Papua New Guinea via the Torres Strait islands where he has family.

It is believed he was in Port Augusta in South Australia last Friday.

An arrest warrant for Mr Leisha and his sister, Jennifer Leisha, was renewed in the Family Court in Brisbane yesterday.

Shem Leisha who abducted his daughter, Layla more than four weeks ago has a warrant out for his arrest.
Shem Leisha who abducted his daughter, Layla more than four weeks ago has a warrant out for his arrest.

A recovery order for 11-year-old Layla Leisha was also renewed.

Mr Leisha has spoken at length with The Morning Bulletin and insists "this case is not about custody”.

"It is my God-willing right to protect my daughter from the system that fails so many children and people every day,” he said.

"Where cases on abuse and violence against innocent children can be swept under the carpet.

"It's the criminal issues that push a parent to step up and protect a child, the criminal element here is not dealt with.”

Calliope school girl, Layla Leisha was just seven-years-old when her father failed to return her after a weekend access visit more than four years ago.

He again failed to return her to the Commonwealth Law Courts in Brisbane on June 23, 2014, prompting a publication order seeking public assistance.

Child recovery expert Colin Chapman has dealt with some of Australia's most high-profile child abduction cases and has been trying to find Layla since being contacted by a member of Mr Leisha's family four weeks ago when she was seen at Wooribinda, two hours south west of Rockhampton.

He says it's one of the strangest cases he's ever come across.

A recovery order has been issued for abducted child, Layla Leisha, missing since 2014.
A recovery order has been issued for abducted child, Layla Leisha, missing since 2014.

"There's been so little media compared to other child abduction cases,” Mr Chapman said.

"That's most unusual, I've never seen that before, ever. Other cases have had hundreds of media articles written about them.

"She is Australia's longest-term case of parental abduction and I've never seen so little interest in a similar case.

"Someone has dropped the ball on this and the only reason I can come up with is because she is a little Aboriginal girl that no-one cared enough about...the child Australia forgot.”

Mr Chapman said he'd been contacted "dozens of times” by Mr Leisha, who bragged about his interactions with Queensland Police and the Australian Federal Police.

"He told me he stands his ground and they let him go saying they never saw him,” Mr Chapman said.

"He told me that once a very senior officer was called to attend on the roadside but told his officers to stand down and let him drive away.

"On Saturday, September 17, 2016 he was taken to Redcliffe police station after an 'altercation with security guards' but released early the next morning.

"He was spoken to again the following month by Redcliffe police, but again they let him go.

"And police had him at Goodna Centrelink on January 3, 2017. Again they let him go.

"He's threatened me a few times, but I'm not going to stop until Layla is found.”

Abducted child Layla Leisha, taken in 2015.
Abducted child Layla Leisha, taken in 2015.

Mr Leisha alleges Layla was being groomed as part of a sanctioned paedophile ring involving the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police Child Protection Investigation Unit, the Departments of Children's Services and Child Safety, the Freemasons and various lawyers.

He also alleges Layla's mother was involved in a sexual relationship with a senior detective who was photographing the child for pornography.

But several family members said he had also accused them of paedophilia and that he has a history of violent offences against women.

Documents witnessed by this paper support their claims.

Layla's mother, who can't be named for legal reasons, hasn't seen her daughter for four years and says she is still paying child support.

"It's terrible, like half your heart has been ripped out,” she said.

"We were best friends; she was top of her class.

"Now I hear she can't read or write.”

She admits to problems with alcohol in her past and said when Layla first went missing she also turned to "the bottle” to self-medicate.

She says she's now sober and just wants to see her daughter.

"I'm embarrassed about that, but I realised it won't make me strong,” she said.

"I got counselling and had really good support.”

Layla's mother has pleaded with Mr Leisha to turn himself in and yesterday his sister, Krisandra Tweedie, also did.

Mrs Tweedie doesn't believe her brother is mistreating Layla but said she loves her niece very much and wants her to have a chance to "address her issues”.

She hasn't seen Layla for more than four years or spoken to her for three years.

"He rang me last night (Monday) and said he would like to hand himself in in a few days,” Mrs Tweedie said.

"None of the family members know their whereabouts; I only get calls from Shem.

"The girl has been with her dad for four years and she's going to be 12 years old soon.

"I would like to see him give himself up.

"Let them come back peacefully ... at the end of the day it's all about Layla.”

The Australian Federal Police would not comment on the case yesterday, referring only to the publication order of 2016.

Anyone with information on Layla's whereabouts is urged to contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

Information provided to Crimestoppers can be made anonymously.

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