Police are treating a Facebook plea for help from suspected hit-and-run victim April-lee Gillen as ‘‘a vital piece of information’’, but say it is too early to know whether the teen was injured in a targeted attack.
The 17-year-old was found lying on Northcliffe Drive at Lake Heights about 1am on Sunday with critical head injuries, which police believe were the result of a collision with a car.
On Tuesday she remained in the intensive care unit at Wollongong Hospital as police renewed their appeal for information.
Inspector Steve Worthington said a Facebook message posted by April-lee shortly before she was found was ‘‘definitely one piece of information we’re still following up’’.
She wrote: ‘‘Phones on 1per cent walking from warrawong to berks [Berkeley] and some Asian guy just stopped me telling me to come home with him cause it’s safe and I need help wtf sos’’.
On Monday the message was reposted to a Facebook page calling for justice for April-lee Gillen.
However the page – in which another person wrote that neighbours had provided ‘‘vital video surveillance of the event’’ to police, and that ‘‘this low life scumbag will be caught and sent to jail’’ – has since disappeared.
Insp Worthington said police had seized CCTV footage from the intersecting Lake Heights Road, and were reviewing it in search of April-lee, who has long, brown hair.
She was wearing cream-coloured cargo pants, a khaki-coloured jacket and brown sandals and was carrying a black handbag when she was injured.
April-lee was walking home from her boyfriend’s house, located a short distance from her home, when she was injured.
She was discovered by a passing stranger, who phone an ambulance.
Insp Worthington said April-lee’s family were too distraught to address a press conference on Tuesday.
The teen’s older sister, Kimberley Gillen, took to social media to ‘‘thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers regarding April-Lee’’.
‘‘I have been overwhelmed with inbox’s and messages of support ... Thankyou from the entire Gillen family, we are staying positive.’’