A grandmother, mother and two sons have been rescued by police after armed men allegedly kidnapped them before burning a house to the ground.
NSW Police have confirmed a 41-year-old woman was found on Tuesday night, several hours after a 71-year-old woman and two boys, aged 13 and 14, were also recovered.
According to multiple reports, the family was abducted after a raid on a rural property in Ootha, in New South Wales’ central west. 7 News reports two men, allegedly armed with a shotgun, a knife and an axe, stormed the house before assaulting another man, reportedly aged 68, and setting the house alight.
Arriving on scene at around 11am, police are said to have found the man – claimed to be the grandfather – with critical injuries, while the two women and two children had allegedly been kidnapped by the group. It sparked a huge police hunt spanning 400 kilometres, towards Windsor in Sydney’s west.
The older woman and the two teenagers were recovered after being dropped on the roadside around 7.15pm that night, and two men, aged 23 and 29, were arrested.
The 41-year-old woman – claimed to be the mother – was allegedly still being held hostage at the time. Police confirmed she was was eventually rescued at around 11.30pm in bushland near Blaxlands Ridge, about 20km north of Windsor. A 44-year-old man was later arrested.
Footage, taken by the news outlet, shows the rubble and debris left on the ground after the house burnt down.
“Detectives from the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad, assisted by the Financial Crimes Squad’s Arson Unit, and North West Metropolitan, Western, and Northern Regions, have established Strike Force Stolle to investigate the circumstances surrounding today’s incidents,” NSW Police said in a statement.
The three men are yet to be charged and police are expected to release further information throughout the day.