Fears for Australian mum after toddler found abandoned in resort town



There are grave concerns for an Australian woman missing in Mexico, after her two-year-old daughter was found wandering alone in the resort city of Cancun.

Authorities on Mexico’s Caribbean coast have issued an alert for 32-year-old Tahnee Shanks, who was last seen on Monday in Cancun.

There was no immediate information on how she became separated from her daughter, Adelynn.

But on Thursday, prosecutors also issued a missing persons alert for the girl’s father, Jorge Luis Aguirre Astudillo, a Mexican citizen.

Aguirre Astudillo is also 32 and was also last heard from Monday.

According to a GoFundMe page set up in the name of the family of Tahnee Shanks, Aguirre Astudillo is believed to have dropped the child near a church in Cancun.

The girl was apparently taken into the care of child welfare authorities.

Ms Shanks has lived in Mexico for nine years, but was planning to come home to Queensland. Photo: Facebook

According to her Facebook profile, Ms Shanks, who is from Conway Beach, Queensland, had been trying to get back to Australia.

Her plans were apparently delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I can’t come back to Australia till mid 2022!!! My baby girl will be 2 1/2 years old and hasn’t even met her grandad, uncles, great gran, cousins,” she wrote in May 2021.

Ms Shanks’ brother, Dan, said she had been posting photos of her holiday in Mexico’s south until last weekend.

“We’ve got bugger all information at the moment, but what we do know is her partner is the one who has dumped Adelynn outside the church,” Dan Shanks told the Nine Network on Friday.

“We’ve got three eyewitnesses telling us that, verifying it was him, and Tahnee’s the one missing.

“He’s on the run, as far as we’re concerned. So, it’s… Yeah… Devastating.”

Mr Shanks said he found out about the situation through social media, when a friend sent him a picture of Adelynn outside the church, asking “is this your niece?”.

“We were woken up in the middle of the night and confirmed that it was,” Mr Shanks said.

“We haven’t been able to get in touch with my sister, so we’ve got grave concerns for her safety.”

He said police had found the couple’s car dumped in Cancun.

Ms Shanks has lived in Mexico for nine years, and was on her way to the resort town of Tulum when she went missing. Cancun, where Adelynn was found, is two hours from Tulum.

“You wouldn’t have been able to drag her away from her daughter. She would have fought to the death, so that’s what’s got me so scared,” Mr Shanks told the Brisbane Times.

“It’s just horrifying … She was meant to be here in a month’s time.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing “consular assistance” to Ms Shanks’ family, but declined to comment further.

Two-year-old Adelynn is being cared for by Mexican child welfare authorities.

Ms Shanks’ other brother and her mother are planning to flying to Mexico to try bring the little girl, who has Australian citizenship, back to Queensland.

-with AAP

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