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Community Comes Together To Find Missing Dog After Pregnant Owner Is Killed By Intoxicated Teen Driver

Photo: Facebook
Matthew Field, Katherine Leadbetter, and their dog, Frankie

Residents of Redland City in Queensland, Australia rallied on Jan. 26 for a vast search effort that continued late into the night.

Matthew Field and Katherine Leadbetter were killed by an intoxicated driver on Tuesday evening while walking their dogs in the Alexandra Hills Neighborhood.

They were expecting a baby.

After learning that one of the couple’s beloved pets, Frankie, had fled the scene of the crash and was still missing, devastated community members took to the streets in droves to locate her.

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Frankie suffers from Addison’s disease and requires frequent medical care, so many feared for her health and safety in the summer heat.

The Facebook page “Find Frankie” documented the search. Local volunteers shared information about Frankie on the page, as well as updates on their search locations and any clues they found.

One group member described the emotion she felt upon joining the effort: “It was so nice to see so many others also looking. A real sense of a community pulling together.” 

Some people brought their dogs along to help sniff out Frankie, while others circulated her picture to passers-by.

One man brought out his drone to search for Frankie in hard-to-reach areas. Another searcher found an unrelated lost dog in the process, who was also taken to safety.

The hunt continued late at night and even into the early hours of the morning.

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Frankie was found around noon on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

A determined search party was slogging through the boggy terrain of Mongomery Park’s bushland when resident Kelly Gilbert’s dog, Hermione, suddenly caught a scent.

Hermy “let out a bit of a yip, and there was Frankie lying on a little bit of grass right near the water,” Gilbert said.

The exhausted and dehydrated pup was carried out of the bush and quickly taken to a vet for proper care.

A family member of the victims confirmed that both dogs “have a very loving family to go home to.”

Frankie had been missing for over 12 hours, and many had lost hope, but her rescue instilled a sense of pride and strength among the grieving community.

“No one will break this community’s spirit,” one Redlands resident commented triumphantly. Another effused, “I’ve never felt prouder to be a Redlander than today.”

The community continues to rally in the wake of the tragedy.

“Words will never be enough to express the love we in the Redlands feel for this family tonight,” a group member posted. “We are here with you. I think I speak for all of us when I say you have our love and support.”

The town mourned Katherine, Matthew, and their unborn child with several candlelight vigils and erected a roadside memorial blanketed in flowers, gifts, and notes. 

On Facebook, dozens shared photos of lit candles in memory of the couple.

A petition is being circulated to have the teen offender tried as an adult, and has over eleven thousand signatures.

Residents have reported that the vets are not charging for Frankie’s care.

A GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Frankie and her family was set up by a local named James Bellwood, who says he was at the scene of the crash and was “traumatized.” 

“I want to make a difference,” Bellwood said. The campaign has already reached almost $7000 out of its ten thousand dollar goal. 

Frankie seems to represent hope for the Redland community amidst the heartbreak of her family’s loss. 

According to one grieving resident, the rescue was a “sliver of light in a very dark time.”

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Allie McGlone is a writer who covers a variety of topics for YourTango, including pop culture and entertainment.