Leisa Bennett could not help but imagine the worst when her granddaughter Aurora Kyle went missing from their family home in rural Queensland. “You’re just thinking she’s out there somewhere in the dark, a three year-old-baby, it’s so disheartening,” she told local newspaper The Warwick Daily News on April 21, 2018. “Your mind goes to all sorts of dark places…”
The child disappeared from her family property in the Southern Downs in southeast Queensland – an area of rugged rural land punctuated by undulant hills and striking granite rock formations. Situated on the northwestern inclines of the Great Dividing Range, the Downs overlook several mountain chains that combine to form the so-called Scenic Rim.
Daily life in the region tends to be grounded in a wide range of agricultural activities, including livestock and dairy farming, crop growing and fruit cultivation. Windmill-powered water pumps are a common sight here, as are crop dusters. Meanwhile, fewer than half of the roads in the Downs are sealed.