The stepmum of Willow Dunn, who was allegedly left to die in her cot, was ‘best friends’ with the toddler’s biological mother.
The four-year-old, who had Down syndrome, was found decomposing in a back bedroom of her home in Cannon Hill on Monday, after what police will allege is one of Australia’s worst ever cases of child neglect.
Her father Mark James Dunn, 43, allegedly found the toddler dead on Saturday and has now been charged with her murder.
Willow allegedly was left to rot in her cot for two days before police were called.
Mr Dunn was living with his partner Shannon White and her 19-year-old daughter at their suburban Brisbane home at the time of Willow’s death.
As details of Willow’s tragic family life slowly emerge, Facebook messages revealed her stepmum was very close friends with Willow’s biological mother Naomi Dunn.
She died a week after giving birth to Willow in 2015.
Willow Dunn’s (pictured) body was found malnourished and decomposing in her bed at her home in Brisbane on Monday, with her face allegedly partially eaten by rats
Shannon White (pictured) is Willow’s stepmother and was best friends with Willow’s biological mother Naomi Dunn for 20 years before moving in with Mr Dunn after she died
Naomi Dunn died a week after giving birth to Willow in 2015
In 2014 Ms White posted: ‘I still have my bestie from 19 years ago Naomi Kipping (Ms Dunn). She’s always been there for me no matter what.’
Ms White moved from South Australian to Queensland to move in with Mr Dunn not long after his wife’s death.
Daily Mail Australia understands Willow was sent to live with an aunt and uncle after her mother’s death, but returned to live with Mr Dunn about a year later.
Detectives are investigating whether Willow spent the entirety of her four years on earth in squalor without adequate food or care.
She was allegedly badly malnourished, and had bone-deep sores on her hips when she was found.
A Facebook post from Ms White in 2014 claimed Ms Dunn was her best friend of 19 years (pictured)
Willow’s father Mark James Dunn (pictured) has been charged with her murder after allegedly leaving her body for two days after finding her dead
Police clear out the site in Cannon Hill (pictured) where Willow was allegedly found with her face eaten by rats
Willow was not Down syndrome registered with the NDIS, leading detectives to allege she was not receiving the care she needed.
Mr Dunn allegedly told police he noticed Willow’s deteriorating condition and should have sought help before her death.
He is also alleged to have told police he couldn’t handle his daughter’s condition.
Locals said they had not seen Willow for two weeks before her death and that she had been seen looking unwell in the weeks prior, The Courier Mail reported.
Queensland Child Safety Minister Di Farmer refused to comment on the department’s relationship with Willow’s family.
Naomi Dunn died on November 5, 2015 giving birth to her daughter Willow, devastating her family
Flowers and toys were spread outside the Cannon Hill home by well-wishers on Thursday (pictured)
Police are probing whether the toddler starved to death in her own bedroom at the Cannon Hill home (pictured)
A childhood friend of Ms Dunn, Anita Thompson, told The Australian her friend would be devastated to know of Willow’s fate.
‘She would have been a great mum to Willow,’ she said.
‘I can’t believe it, that poor little baby girl.’
Police are probing whether Willow starved to death and was being denied medication.
Shocked neighbours began arriving at the scene on Tuesday to lay flowers for the toddler, but many said they had never seen the little girl – despite the family moving in a year ago.
‘They’ve been there for that long and we didn’t know a little girl lived there,’ one neighbour said.
A teddy bear wearing a Parramatta Eels jersey is seen in the bedroom of the Cannon Hill home on Tuesday (pictured) just hours after little Willow was allegedly found in her cot
‘That’s the big take-home for me. I can’t believe it.’
Her father was charged under a new definition of murder in Queensland aimed at child-killers, which includes ‘reckless indifference to human life’.
The case was briefly mentioned in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday, but Dunn did not appear in person, with the case adjourned until July 20.
A teddy bear, dressed in a Parramatta Eels jersey, was placed in the window of the family home on Tuesday, while a pram sat abandoned in the front garden.