"Absolutely fantastic": dad's relief at finding daughter safe
THE father of Wollongbar teenager Riley Steer has expressed his relief her safe return and thanked the community for its help finding her.
Riley, who disappeared on Saturday, was found safe and well at Byron Bay yesterday, much to the delight of distraught family and friends.
A member of the public recognised 15-year-old Riley and called police to inform them she was at a bus stop at Byron Bay about 1pm yesterday.
Phil Steer said after three worrying days and sleepless nights, the family was overwhelmed to see Riley at Byron Bay police station safe and well.
"It was fabulous, she looks well and to the best of our knowledge she is unharmed," he said. "It's just absolutely fantastic ... it's been a tough few days, that's for sure."
Riley was last seen walking west toward Lismore along the Bruxner Hwy at 4.30pm on Saturday.
Mr Steer said worries escalated each day, as Riley left home without her purse, money and a change of clothes.
"Through little pieces of information, both on Facebook and from people who told volunteers 'we have seen this young girl; she was at a party at Casino on Saturday night', we were able to piece things together.
"The police were able to go from there to interview a person at Lismore, and from that the word came that she had made her way to Byron Bay."
Mr Steer said if it wasn't for the huge effort from people, many of whom he had never met, his daughter may not have been found so quickly.
"The media and police at Lismore, Ballina and Byron Bay have been superb, as well as the people who put together the missing persons page," he said.
Minutes after news filtered through that Riley had been found, social media was abuzz with messages of congratulation and relief.
Mr Steer also thanked friends and volunteers.