A four-year-old girl found dead in a Brisbane home may have starved to death and her body could have been inside the home for at least two days before she was found, police say.
Willow Dunn was found dead at a rental property in Cannon Hill in Brisbane’s east about 9.20am on Monday, leaving neighbours in shock.
In a tragic reminder of the girl’s presence at the home was her teddy bear dressed in a Parramatta Eels jersey and an abandoned pram in the front yard.
Police will allege her father, 43-year-old Mark James Dunn, murdered her on or about Saturday May 23, two days before emergency services found her body at the home.
Dunn, who was born in Auckland, was charged late on Monday and was denied bail to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday, but the hearing has now been adjourned until July 20.
Dunn allegedly claimed he found his daughter face down in her cot, but police will allege her body was ‘badly decomposed’.
They claim she suffered sores on her hips down to the bone.
An abandoned stroller was left in the front of the property with a small basketball shaped toy attached to its handle
A smiling teddy bear was also seen in a front window of the home above a sign which read ‘Mark’s’. The teddy was dressed in a Parramatta Eels NRL jersey
Pictures taken at the scene on Tuesday morning show investigators had returned to take forensic swabs and further examine the family home
Detectives also believe she was malnourished and had been left in the bedroom without any food, The Courier Mail reported.
Dunn has been charged under new state laws which extend the definition of murder, which now includes reckless indifference to human life.
When sentencing, judges are required to consider the vulnerability of the victim.
Neighbours watched on in horror as the family were led from the home, with other young children in tow, on Monday morning to speak with investigators.
Senior detectives, two ambulances and a fleet of about 10 police cars descended on the home following the grim discovery and immediately established a crime scene.
Pictures taken at the scene on Tuesday morning show investigators had returned to take forensic swabs and further examine the family home.
Senior detectives and a fleet of about 10 police cars descended on the home following the grim discovery and immediately established a crime scene
Police arrived at the Queenslander home, where a car with green P plates was left in the driveway
An abandoned stroller was left in the front of the property with a small basketball shaped toy attached to its handle.
Police had taped off the area surrounding the stroller.
A smiling teddy bear was also seen in a front window of the home above a sign which read ‘Mark’s’.
The teddy was dressed in a Parramatta Eels NRL jersey.
Detectives are still working to determine how Willow died, and are investigating whether she starved to death.
She also did not receive crucial medication that she needed, Seven News reported.
Forensic crews at the scene where the body of a four-year-old girl was found at a house in Cannon Hill on Monday morning. A 43-year-old man has been charged with her murder
The stroller was cordoned off by police who arrived on Tuesday to continue inspecting the scene
An SUV with green ‘P’ Plates was left in the driveway on Tuesday morning, as were camping chairs which were strewn across the front lawn
A call was made to Queensland Ambulance Service just after 9am on Monday.
An SUV with green ‘P’ Plates was left in the driveway on Tuesday morning, as were camping chairs which were strewn across the front lawn.
Tradesman Trent O’Brien, who was working on the street when police arrived, said he was shocked at how calm the family appeared as the girl’s body was taken away.
He said about five people, including a small child wearing a nappy, walked out of the home as emergency services arrived.
‘Nobody that I saw was frantic… I didn’t hear any screams,’ he said.
Police spent the entire day at the Bent Street address and interviewing members of the girl’s family. They are assisting with the investigation, police revealed.
A neighbour said a family rented the home in the quiet suburban street.
‘I have never heard much from them. It is quite a quiet street… it’s a bit of a shock,’ the resident told The Courier-Mail.
An investigator was pictured walking through the house with a camera to take photos of the scene
Police at the scene of the tragic discovery on Monday. It is believed the young girl may have been dead for some time
Parents at Cannon Hill Anglican College, down the road from the crime scene, were informed of police in the area and warned it would cause delays in dropping off and picking up students.
‘Should you hear of this incident through the media, please be assured there is no reason to be fearful of any threat to the school and your children are safe and are being kept totally unaware of the police presence outside the college,’ the email to parents read.
Locals said about 10 police cars and two ambulances arrived on the scene shortly after 9am and began speaking with neighbours.
One neighbour said the death was a shock for the usually quiet neighbourhood.
‘I’ve seen a boy jumping on the trampoline outside before but he would be 10 or 12 years old,’ he said. ‘I have never heard much from them.’
Detectives are appealing for anyone who may have information to come forward.
About 10 police cars and two ambulances arrived on the scene shortly after 9am and began speaking with neighbours
Police are seen at the crime scene on Monday. Parents at nearby Cannon Hill Anglican College were warned of the police presence
Investigations are ongoing, a spokesman for Queensland Police told Daily Mail Australia