PERTH, Australia - Australian authorities said Thursday they had finally contacted a man exposed as a convicted paedophile at the centre of a Thai surrogate baby scandal, as his son defended him as a changed man.
Child protection officials had been trying to touch base with the man and his wife since Tuesday but visits to their home in Bunbury, south of Perth, went unanswered.
The man, 56, sparked global controversy for apparently abandoning his Down's syndrome baby boy, Gammy, in Thailand and taking only his healthy twin sister back home, although he and his wife dispute the circumstances.
It subsequently emerged that he was convicted in the 1990s on 22 child sex abuse charges involving girls as young as seven, state broadcaster ABC reported.
An investigation was launched this week into the safety and welfare of the twin sister but authorities were unable to find the family.
But Western Australia Child Protection Minister Helen Morton said her department had now made phone contact with the biological parents, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
"This family needs the opportunity to have the considerations around the safety and well-being of that child undertaken in a really private, comfortable environment for them," she told Fairfax Radio.