Police issued a murder and kidnapping warrant Thursday for the father of a 3-year-old girl found abandoned in Australia, after identifying the body of her mother found stuffed in the trunk of a car in New Zealand.
The warrant for the arrest of Xue Naiyin, a Chinese-language magazine publisher in New Zealand's largest city of Auckland, was sent to Interpol in the United States, where Xue fled several days ago, police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said.
A three-nation investigation was launched after Xue was captured on security camera footage leaving his daughter, Qian Xun Xue, alone at a train station in Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday. He boarded a flight to Los Angeles shortly afterward.
The two arrived in Australia from their home in New Zealand three days earlier. Police investigating the girl's abandonment Wednesday discovered a woman's body in the trunk of Xue's car parked outside the family home.
Preliminary findings of a post-mortem examination determined the body was that of Anan Liu, 27, Xue's wife and the mother of the child, and that she had died "during a violent episode," police said in a statement.
Laura Eimiler, an FBI spokeswoman in Los Angeles, said the organization was aware of Xue's case.
"The FBI has offered its assistance to the New Zealand government in locating him," Eimiler said, referring additional questions to New Zealand authorities.
Before the girl was identified, officials who found her nicknamed her "pumpkin" after the brand of clothes she was wearing. She is currently in temporary foster care in Melbourne. Her plight has been headline news in Australia and New Zealand for days.
New Zealand Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove said Thursday officials had fast-tracked procedures to allow Qian's grandmother, Liu Xiaoping, to come to the country from Hunan in China.
Liu Xiaoping has said she intends to travel to New Zealand, then Australia to try to take custody of Qian.
"What she is going through now has no doubt left scars on her heart," Liu Xiaoping told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.