TV Week
23rd July 2005

It’s panic stations at Drovers Run when Charlotte disappears.

Stevie can’t believe this is happening! Tess’s much-loved niece, Charlotte, has wandered off while in Stevie’s care and she can’t find her anywhere on Drovers Run!

Within minutes, Jodi (Rachael Carpani) and Kate (Michala Banas) are also frantically searching the property, but there’s no sign of the toddler (played by triplets Brooke, Kaitlyn and Tahlia Stacey-Clark).

Meanwhile, Tess (Bridie Carter), who’s on a picnic with Regan (Zoe Naylor) and Dave (Brett Tucker), remains unaware of the panic that is unfolding over at her property.

“Everyone at Drovers is completely freaking out,” reveals Michala. “Charlotte is only a little child.

“There’s a lot of blame being thrown around and it’s very distressing for everyone. They all love Charlotte.”

Adds Simmone Jade Mackinnon, who plays Stevie: “She only took her eyes off Charlotte for a second, but that can be all it takes with a little kid.”

Returning to Drovers, Tess immediately realises something is terribly wrong. And she’s beside herself when she finds out her beloved niece has gone missing.

“I shouldn’t have gone on the picnic,” she cries to Nick (Myles Pollard). “I should have been here. She’s my responsibility.”

What’s more, Tess doesn’t mince words when it comes to letting Stevie know exactly what she thinks of her. Stevie, who is already grappling with overwhelming guilt, is shattered when Tess lashes out at her — so much so that she seriously contemplates leaving Drovers Run forever!

“It’s terrifyingly scary,” Bridie says.

“She’s angry at Stevie. Stevie says, ‘I took my eyes off her,’ and Tess replies, ‘But you can’t. You can never take your eyes off a child, even for a second.’ Stevie has enough guilt of her own, without this being put on her. But, of course, people are going to react differently.”

Everyone’s worst fears seem to be realised when Stevie discovers Charlotte’s favourite doll beside a lake on the property. A distraught Stevie dives into the murky waters in a desperate attempt to find Charlotte. Has the young girl drowned?

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