A horror car crash that killed a Queensland mother and her four children may not have been an accident.
Police have revealed they are investigating why there were no skid marks from the vehicle of Charmaine McLeod when her car slammed head first into an oncoming truck on the Bunya Highway near Kumbia, on Monday night.
The horrific accident killed the 35-year-old mother and her children, Aaleyn, six, Matilda, five, Wyatt, four, and Zaidok, two.
Police have also reportedly found evidence at the scene of the crash which prompted specialist officers to be brought into the investigation, although it is not clear what was discovered.
It is also understood police cannot work out why the mother and her children were three hours away from their Eli Waters home, near Hervey Bay, when the crash happened.
The five deaths have not been added to the state’s road toll yet, until it is known if the fatality was an accident or not.
Police are still working to find out why Charmaine McLeod and her four children (three pictured) were on the Bunya Highway on Monday night, where they all died in a horror crash
The father of the children, and Ms McLeod’s ex-partner James McLeod said there were no friends or family who lived in that area, and he had no idea why they were there at the time of the crash.
Mr McLeod told Daily Mail Australia on Friday that there was a lot about the tragic accident which didn’t add up, but he was waiting for police to get to the bottom of it.
‘Once the police investigation is done the story is going to explode again,’ Mr McLeod said.
‘I just want to wait for the facts and the police are going to report the facts,’ he said.
Detectives say Ms McLeod’s car did not leave skidmarks on the highway, south of the turn off to the Bunya mountains, toward Dalby. Pictured: The scene
Initial investigations showed the mother-of-four had tried to overtake a truck by driving on the wrong side of the road when she slammed into a second truck at high speed, around 7pm.
The truck Ms McLeod slammed into also caught fire but the driver, a 47-year-old man, escaped and was taken to hospital for his injuries.
He suffered burns to his arms while heroically trying to free the family from the car as it was engulfed in flames.
Three of Ms McLeod’s children were unable to be rescued and died in the back seat of the family’s station wagon, and a fourth child was rushed to hospital but died on the way.
Road Policing Command Superintendent Dave Johnson has said he does not know why the family were on the road at that time.
Supt. Johnson declined to go into detail on the case, but revealed specialist detectives had been included in the investigation, and officers were keeping an ‘open mind’ in their inquiries.
‘There’s a further investigation involving the positioning of the vehicle and why it was on the road at the time and where it was and what circumstances, if any, are known to police in relation to that matter,’ he said.
At this stage, the five deaths have not been added to the Queensland road toll.
‘I understand that there’s a range of investigators involved in that matter and we will look at all courses of action and all … avenues as to causal factors.”
Charmaine Harris McLeod’s children (left to right) Wyatt, 4, Aaleyn, 6, Zaidok, 2, and Matilda, 5, also perished in the fiery crash, which took place three hours away from their home in Hervey Bay
Heartbroken father James McLeod (pictured with his children) on Wednesday recalled the last time he saw his children before the fatal accident, and said he was waiting for police to reveal what had happened to his family
Mr McLeod on Wednesday recalled the last time he saw his children before the fatal accident.
The grieving father told The Courier-Mail it was the first time Zaidok told him he loved him.
‘Young Zaidok – he was just a little adventurer. A loving and kind kid,’ Mr McLeod said.
‘The last supervised visitation I had with them, not last Saturday but the Saturday beforehand, he actually said that he loves me, daddy, to me. Just out of the blue.’
Mr McLeod said his youngest was ‘an amazing little boy’ who was developing well.
He said all his children were ‘beautiful souls’ who were loved by everyone they met at daycare, church, and school.
‘Each of them had their own character. They weren’t all the same,’ he said.
A family picnic from 2017 with the four children and Ms McLeod’s former husband James and sister Katie
Emergency workers described the crash as ‘catastrophic’ and one of the worst scenes they had ever been to. Police have called in specialist detectives to investigate the circumstances of the crash
Just weeks before the family’s tragic death, Ms McLeod claimed she was abandoned by her church when she needed it most.
Ms McLeod attended Bayside Christian Church in Hervey Bay every Sunday for 17 years until she abruptly left, and then explained why in a Facebook post last month.
‘I feel as if, if you cant or don’t grasp God/healing etc, when they think you should have then you just get left behind,’ she wrote.
The single mother said she asked for support after her marriage broke down in early 2018 but got ‘very, very little’.
‘They were always too busy, not one piece of clothing or a piece of bread was offered, let alone shelter… I feel as if I’ve done it alone,’ she wrote.
‘These are the things Jesus did, he ate with the less fortunate. I’ve asked for prayer before surgery and yes I’ve had a lot of surgeries, but they don’t – they do for others though.’
In the hours after Ms McLeod’s death, friends accused Bayside church of failing to help one of its members when she was ‘crying out for help’.
‘I hope your church reflects on this she is no longer here for you too help her or her children,’ one wrote.
However, the church insisted it did everything it could to help her and provided many hours of support whenever she needed it.
‘People were in contact with Charmaine right up until last week. Our door was always open to Charmaine whenever she needed help and she new that,’ it replied.
‘Unfortunately, peoples’ lives and situations aren’t always black and white. We were always reaching out to Charmaine and offering to help as much as she would allow us to.’
Ms McLeod’s church, who she blasted in April for their lack of support, dedicated a memorial to the woman and wrote: ‘We will miss them all dearly,’ on its Facebook page
Charmaine McLeod, 35, died instantly on Monday night when she was overtaking a truck on the Bunya Highway near Kumbia, Queensland, along with her children (three pictured here). A 47-year-old truck driver escaped with minor injuries, but had burns to his arms
Bayside Church said Ms McLeod was a personal friend of many church members who spent time with her during the week to give support.
‘We organised professional counseling for her, which she was still regularly attending, we provided meals when needed, looked after her kids, prayed with her many times, visited her at home and the list goes on,’ it wrote.
‘It’s easy to say we could have done more, but honestly we were there for Charmaine when she needed us.
‘We are all very sad and hurting with this tragic loss. Charmaine was a wonderful person with four incredible kids.’
Many of the tributes to Ms McLeod that flooded social media on Tuesday and Wednesday highlighted her strong faith.
‘Charmaine, you and your children brought so much joy and laughter to our Bayside church community, praying for your family in this difficult time,’ one wrote.
Ms McLeod volunteered for charity Youth in Search, which helped at-risk youth – several of whom paid tribute to her after her death.
A fundraiser set up by Ms McLeod’s sister Katie Harris to pay for funeral expenses has raised more than $7,000, with the rest to be donated to Youth in Search.
She and her husband moved out of the family home in Howard, west of Hervey Bay, last May and she sold many possessions through Facebook in the months afterwards.
‘I’ve had no issues at all, only moving for family reasons,’ she wrote in a post advertising for someone to take over the lease.
Just a few days before the crash she was looking for painting classes in Hervey Bay and surrounds for her eldest daughter Ally.
The woman, 35, was driving in South Burnett, Queensland at 7.20pm when she pulled out to overtake a truck. Pictured: The wreckage of the truck
Police have taken further evidence from the scene since the crash which has widened their investigation
Friends offered their love and support to Mr McLeod on social media in the aftermath of the tragedy.
‘James McLeod I am here for you…sorry about your four angels,’ a friend wrote.
Friends and family flooded social media with their own tributes to the family, praising her selflessness in looking after her children.
‘I’ve never seen a single mum let alone of four give up so much for their kids,’ a friend wrote.
‘I can’t believe what I’ve woken up to this never should’ve f**king happened I’m in so much shock and pain, this is so f**ked life is so unfair’.
Shocked and heartbroken friends in her hometown of Hervey Bay, Queensland, sent tributes in the hours after the catastrophic accident
‘Those kids were something else I tell you and lived like princes and princesses for their short life they had but there was nothing materialistic to it they were just so happy and loved and their happiness came before anything.’
Another friend wrote: ‘You were always there for me when i need a friend and you always gave me the kick up the butt I needed. I miss you.’
‘You will always be in my heart’.
A neighbour, Gary Loweke, who used to mow the lawn for Ms McLeod said they were a friendly family and the kids were often on the street playing hopscotch or riding their bikes.
‘It’s a bloody disaster… those four kids waved at us every day as we went past,’ Mr Loweke said.
‘Charmaine was friendly, she was really nice… she was very good with the kids. If she wasn’t there, her sister would be there, but she was never far away from her family for long.
‘They’ll be greatly missed on the street, all the houses around there had young kids and they all used to play together.
‘The littlest fella, he used to just sit there and when he’d see you, he’d stand up where he was and give you the biggest wave. It’s hard not seeing that.’
‘Those kids were something else I tell you and lived like princes and princesses for their short life they had but there was nothing materialistic to it they were just so happy and loved and their happiness came before anything,’ a friend said