'Pumpkin' Xue returns to China with grandmother

Updated: 2007-10-07 11:09

Three-year-old Xue Qianxun, or "Little Pumpkin," has returned to China, with her maternal grandmother and the ashes of her murdered mother.

The Herald on Sunday said the toddler, who was abandoned by her father in Melbourne, left Auckland yesterday for Changsha, Central China's Hunan Province.

Three-year-old Xue Qianxun (L), or "Little Pumpkin," is held by her grandmother when leaving for China on October 6, 2007. The toddler, who was abandoned by her father in Melbourne left Auckland yesterday with her maternal grandmother and the ashes of her murdered mother. [Agencies]

Xue was taken from Auckland to Melbourne by her father Xue Naiyin, 57, on September 14. Xue fled from Melbourne to Los Angeles two days later.

The body of his wife, Anan Liu, was found in the boot of Xue's car outside their Mt Roskill family home on September 19 and Xue is now being hunted by American police as a murder suspect.

He has been described as New Zealand's most wanted man and Los Angeles police believe he was still in Los Angeles Chinatown.

Xue Qianxun's grandmother Liu Xiaoping  arrived in New Zealand last week to seek custody of Xue and to collect the ashes of her daughter to return them to China.

Judge Peter Boshier last week made orders under the Care of Children Act 2004.

Mrs Liu was made an "additional guardian". She was also given leave to apply for a parenting order so that the child "is placed into the day to day care" of Mrs Liu.

Judge Boshier ordered that half-sister Grace Xue has contact with Xue Qianxun by email, telephone, exchange of photos and visits when Ms Xue is in China or Xue is in New Zealand.

The Herald on Sunday said Mrs Liu was grateful to the police and the New Zealand Government. She was suprised everything went so smoothly and she could return home after just 12 days.

The government had paid the $6,000 cost of Anan's funeral and about $10,000 in legal fees for Liu to gain custody of Xue Qianxun.

Mrs Liu said the police had taken them to visit a vineyard and a butterfly show.

She had no plans to seek financial help from the Little Pumpkin Trust, set up by Grace Xue.

The Sunday Star-Times reported that Grace Xue was expected to make a statement tomorrow on behalf of Mrs Liu and herself, outlining plans for the care of Xue Qianxun and her possible return to New Zealand or Australia for part of her education.

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