Boy, 5, missing in the Murray, another child savaged, woman arrested

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The story Mother allegedly tried to drown two sons in Murray River: police first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

The woman then allegedly turned to the younger son, while the older son managed to struggle free before he was attacked by a pit bull.

The search operation was launched involving police from Deniliquin Local Area Command, SES, and Maritime Rescue, and the Victorian police airwing.

THE grandparents of two children involved in an alleged attempted drowning in the Murray River claim they alerted authorities in Albury to the "imminent risk" to the children following their mother's release from prison.

The 27-year-old woman didn't appear before Deniliquin local court as expected on Saturday morning after requesting to stay in the custody cells.

The mother, who can not be named, is expected to appear in court via videolink on Monday.

The older son was "savagely mauled" by the dog and was airlifted to the Royal Children's Hospital.

Brooks said government agencies had "culpability" for what happened to the two boys on Thursday.

The woman's eldest boy, 9, survived after a dog intervened and attacked her.

He was taken to Echuca Hospital and transported to Melbourne for treatment.

Lawyer Dale Brooks, representing the woman's mum who had been helping to care for the boys, said she is an "ice" or crystal meth addict who is well-known to authorities. He was last seen drifting facedown in the water.

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Detective Sergeant Swinton said the woman made full admissions to her role in the incident, and told police of her "intention to kill both children". The Bendigo Magistrate's Court also heard she allegedly told witnesses the night before that she "had to drown my babies".

Lawyers for the boys' grandmother said their client blames the Department of Community Corrections and the police for the tragedy, after their "lack of communication and support in essentially off-loading the housing of her daughter to our client".

Detective Sergeant Trent Swinton told the court the younger son, 5, was screaming during the incident.

"She is confused and upset", he told reporters. "We want answers", she said.

Local police officer Superintendent Paul Condon would have seen many horrors in his years on the front line.

A neighbour outside the Deniliquin court said it was impossible to imagine what the grandmother of the children was going through.

"It will rock the community of Australia", he said in a press conference Friday. And the child (in hospital) has lost his mother and probably his brother, it will change his life forever.

She was released February 2 this year. Others said that while they did not know the mother personally, they knew of her and her "problems".

The pitbull, named buddy, was credited with helping rescue the nine-year-old after biting his mum and allegedly helping to drag the boy out of the water, his unnamed owners said.

Moama police were then called to the scene and found the boy with serious dog bite injuries before learning his brother was missing.