Missing mum, children and grandmother found unharmed
A WOMAN has been found safe and well after a major police operation that began early yesterday with an alleged violent home invasion, house fire and abduction.
Police have now arrested a third man in connection to the alleged domestic violence-related incident in central west NSW.
A 41-year-old mother had been missing since she, her two sons aged 13 and 14, and their grandmother, 71, were allegedly abducted from a property in Ootha, near Condobolin.
Police allege two men armed with a shotgun, knife and an axe and assaulted a 68-year-old male occupant - understood to be the grandfather - and knocked him unconscious.
The home was then burned to the ground - leading to fears there could be victims inside.
Police say when the man regained consciousness, he couldn't find his family members.
It's understood the boys were visiting their grandmother's home with their mum while on school holidays.
Police confirmed early today the woman and a 44-year-old man they had been hunting were both found in bushland near Blaxlands Ridge, about 20km north of Windsor.
"About 11.30pm officers from the Tactical Operations Unit and Dog Unit, with the assistance of PolAir, located the man and woman," a police statement said.
The man was arrested and the woman has been taken into the care of local police.
The development followed the recovery of the grandmother and boys earlier on Tuesday night and the arrest of two men. The trio had been left on the side of the road while the first two men arrested were found near Sackville shortly after.
Police have not yet charged the three men, aged 23, 29, and 44.
Detectives from the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad, assisted by the Financial Crimes Squad's Arson Unit, and North West Metropolitan, Western, and Northern Regions, have established Strike Force Stolle to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.
A statewide manhunt to find a car that arrived on a property in Ootha, near Condobolin, began early this morning.
The property went up in flames at 5am but it was hours before emergency services were called to the address at 11am.
A 68-year-old man was found "a short distance" from the country residence with a 15cm cut to his head after being reportedly hit with the barrel of a shotgun and left to bleed for hours, according to police.
It has been reported police are hunting the man's estranged son-in-law.
The mother and her two young sons were visiting the boys' grandmother while on school holidays when they disappeared from the property, Nine News reported.
The 68-year-old man has been flown to Orange Base Hospital in a critical condition.
Police told media they were called to the home at 11am to find it already well alight.
Firefighters fought the blaze before officers found the man with injuries nearby.
Police are expected to provide further details later this morning.