GEORGE TOWN: Ten-year-old Rekha Ahamad, who has been missing since Monday, has returned home.
She walked into her house at 9 last night to the pleasant surprise of her family.
Her stepfather Ahamad Omar, 49, said Rekha told him she was coaxed by a woman to follow her and was taken to a flat in Farlim.
The woman and her husband had locked her in a room but fed and gave her some clothes to change.
"My daughter told me she was not abused or ill-treated. But she was not allowed to leave the room or the flat," he said before rushing to the police station to give a statement.
Yesterday evening, the couple was said to have left the girl at a bus stop in Farlim.
Rekha boarded a bus and alighted near her home.
It is believed that the couple could have panicked after print and electronic media highlighted Rekha's disappearance and decided to leave her at the bus stop.
State police chief Datuk Koh Hong Sun confirmed that the girl's father had brought her to the Northeast district police station at 9.30pm.
He said the girl appeared to be in good health but the police would send her to the hospital for a check-up.
The Year Four pupil of Sekolah Kebangsaan (P) Island at the city centre here, was last seen leaving her Kampung Kolam home alone after she coaxed her stepfather to give her RM5 to buy a VCD at a night market.
Rekha, the sixth of seven siblings, was wearing a white T-shirt and a pair of shorts when she left home.
Ahamad, Rekha's mother, Salmah Sellamah Abdullah, 41, and siblings had been holding a vigil at their run-down house for the safe return of the girl.
The poverty-stricken family had for the past few years been illegally occupying a vacant shoplot, located 100 metres from the Kapitan Keling mosque.
The shoplot is only equipped with a one-seater sofa, several broken chairs which lined the five-foot way as well as old mattresses. There is no electricity supply.
Ahamad sells second-hand items at the nearby flea market while Salmah works as a factory operator in Bayan Lepas.
The couple met in 2002 when Salmah's ex-husband left her and her children.
They got married two years ago.
- NST Online