A baby girl found dead in the shallows of a popular Gold Coast beach was living with her homeless parents in a hut made from sticks prior to her death.
The horrific living conditions of the nine-month-girl’s family have been unveiled a day after her body was found at Surfers Paradise beach at 12.30am on Monday.
Sitting in sand dunes only metres from the surf, the shack made of dead wood and twigs was home to the baby girl, her two-year-old brother and their parents – dad, 48 and mum, 23.
As police continue to search for answers about how the infant wound up dead in the sand, local residents have told how they reported the young family’s shocking living conditions to authorities, yet nothing seemed to be done about it.
The sad living conditions of the family of a nine-month-girl found dead on a Surfers Paradise beach on Monday morning have been unveiled (pictured)
Nappies and an empty bucket of KFC (pictured) lie on the ground just metres from the shelter made from sticks and twigs
Just metres away is a regular thoroughfare for locals and tourists looking to enjoy some of the best beaches in Australia
Reverend Jon Brooks, head of a local housing crisis centre, told Daily Mail Australia the family lived ‘as rough as it gets’.
‘Anybody who does it homeless does it poorly, but if it is the family I believe it might be they were in the worst position you could find yourself in,’ Rev Brooks said.
‘I wasn’t aware they’d been living in a humpy – the last I knew they were moving from toilet blocks, to parks, to even under bridges.’
‘They moved up here from down south and we gave them assistance with a different organisation that houses homeless people up here. We also provided them meals at lunch time.’
A local resident told The Gold Coast Bulletin she often heard the infant ‘crying in the night’ as she walked past their hut.
‘Why was the baby left with the parents, just why?’ they said.
Another woman wrote on Facebook that she told police of the family’s hut, fearing the young children were being exposed to the elements at night.
‘It was winter and the dunes were freezing every time the sun went down. I didn’t think that was good for a baby or toddler,’ she wrote.
The little girl was found dead by the water (pictured) in the early hours of Monday. Paramedics desperately tried to revive the little girl but she was pronounced dead at the scene (pictured)
Touching tributes were left at the scene on Tuesday, little more than 24 hours after the tragedy unfolded
Strangers left balloons and children’s toys near the scene of the infant’s death on Monday
‘I reported it straight away and monitored the following week. And if authorities did the job correctly this little girl would still be here!’
Police are continuing to hold the baby girl’s parents in custody, but have not yet laid charges.
Late on Monday night the couple’s two-year-old son was located safe by authorities and taken into care.
Emergency services were called to Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise, on Monday in response to a member of the public reporting an unresponsive infant on the beach.
Paramedics desperately tried to revive the little girl but she was pronounced dead at the scene, with police now treating the death as ‘unnatural’.
An investigation is underway to officially determine her cause of death but there are reports she had been in the water at some point prior to being found on the sand.
Despite the Gold Coast normally being associated with glitz and glamour, the death of the girl has revealed there are many living it rough by the beach (Pictured is a homeless tent similar to the one the girl’s family previously lived in)
Local church reverend Jon Brooks said the baby girl’s family were living ‘as rough as it gets’ (Pictured are the belongings of one person living it rough)
The tragic reality of the infant’s life has been revealed – a far cry from the glitz and glamour that is normally associated with Surfers Paradise (pictured)
Police have established a crime scene along the section of Surfers Paradise beach (pictured) where the little girl was found dead
‘The body was located on the edge of the surf, so clearly it had been in water, I don’t know how long for,’ Detective Inspector Marc Hogan said on Monday.
‘It’s a very tragic event. It’s a very sad situation.’
The girl’s body was discovered by a member of the public, who was not believed to be a Schoolie.
Teenagers flock to the area from mid-December to mark the end of their high school education, but police have confirmed the girl’s death is not connected to Schoolies.
One mother said her daughter – who was near the scene when the infant was found – was devastated when she found out what had happened.
A resident said they saw an ambulance and heard screaming on the beach.
‘But with the Schoolies around at the moment there’s lots of screaming going on, it’s impossible to know whether it was harmless fun or not,’ the resident said.
Detective Inspector Marc Hogan (pictured) told media: ‘It’s a very tragic event. It’s a very sad situation’
Detective Inspector Hogan said there were no visible signs of injury on the girl but the police investigation was still in its early stages.
The Homicide squad are leading the investigation with the help of New South Wales police as the couple had ‘some movement’ between the Gold Coast and Tweed Heads.
Police are checking CCTV footage from around the area as part of their investigations.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Policelink on 131 444.