August 19 2017, updated 8:19am

Girl 'kidnapped' by mum found safe

Last updated 00:00 16/11/2007

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Police said they no longer fear for the safety of a Christchurch girl they thought had been kidnapped by her mentally unwell mother after the pair returned home safely.

The eight-year-old has been returned to her family in Hornby and Jonelle has returned to Hillmorton hospital where she is receiving the required care and treatment.

She disappeared from her Hornby home on Wednesday night just hours after her mother, Jonelle Karla Churchman, checked herself out of Hillmorton Hospital.

Detective Sergeant Will McIvor, of the Hornby police, said Churchman was not her daughter's legal guardian and police were "looking at kidnapping".

"Jonelle is mentally unwell, and family and police have grave concerns for the safety of both [of them]," he said.

McIvor said the girl, who was living with family in Hornby, received a call from her mother 10 minutes before disappearing.

A neighbour of Churchman's said she saw her arrive at her Woolston home in a taxi on Wednesday about 4.50pm. A tow-truck arrived and jump-started Churchman's car, and she left.

McIvor said the girl seemed to have gone voluntarily.

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