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Australian police arrest man in toddler’s 1970 disappearance

SYDNEY >> Australian police have made an arrest in the mysterious disappearance of a toddler from a beach nearly 50 years ago, charging a man with the 3-year-old girl’s slaying in a case that has baffled officials for decades.

A 63-year-old man who was once considered a person of interest in the 1970 disappearance of Cheryl Grimmer was arrested today, New South Wales police Detective Inspector Brad Ainsworth told reporters.

“I’m not going to get into the specifics of the actual detail of the offenses, but I can say that they’re quite horrific and they’ll be unfolding in court,” Ainsworth said.

The man, whose name was not released, was 16 when Cheryl vanished from a beach in the New South Wales city of Wollongong. The toddler, who had spent the morning at the beach with her mother and three brothers, went into a changing area with her siblings while their mother packed up their belongings. Cheryl was never seen again, and her body was never found.

Police believe Cheryl was taken from the front of the changing area and died within an hour of her abduction, Ainsworth said.

The man accused in her disappearance was interviewed after the toddler disappeared, but was never charged. Police reopened the case last year, and today, interviewed the man again. He was arrested the same day and will be charged on Thursday with murder and abduction, police said.

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