The helpless toddler who was allegedly left to die in her cot had her face eaten by rats as her decomposing body lay for days, police say.
Horrific details of little Willow Dunn’s death emerged on Tuesday night, as the four-year-old was pictured for the first time.
Her father, Mark James Dunn, 43, is alleged to have told paramedics ‘I’m in trouble, aren’t I?’ when they were finally called to his home in Cannon Hill, Brisbane on Monday.
Since charged with his daughter’s murder, Dunn allegedly told police he found Willow dead on Saturday morning – but didn’t seek medical help.
No call to the emergency services were made until Monday morning.
In devastating details of alleged abuse, police say the dead toddler was left to rot in her cot, even after her father discovered her body – which was later mauled by rats The Australian reported.
Willow Dunn (pictured, in 2017) was allegedly left dead in her cot for two days, having her face attacked by rats, after suffering horrific injuries and malnourishment
Her father, Mark James Dunn (pictured) has since been charged with her murder, after she was allegedly left to starve
Willow Dunn (pictured in 2017) lived with her father, stepmother and stepsister after her mother died during childbirth
Police are probing whether Willow, who lived with Down syndrome and grew up without a mother, starved to death and was being denied medication.
They allege she had burns to her scalp, and infected bone-deep sores on her hips.
Her body was allegedly found in a back bedroom inside the rented home, where she lived with her father, stepmother and stepsister.
Willow’s stepmother and stepsister are not facing charges and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing on their parts.
The four-year-old’s own mother died after complications from childbirth, it is understood.
On Tuesday night, the Department of Child Safety confirmed it had had contact with the family in relation to Willow.
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
A stroller was seen in the front yard on Tuesday (pictured) as police continued to investigate what happened to the toddler
LNP shadow police minister Dan Purdie said the case raised ‘serious questions’ about the competency of child protection forces.
‘The big question in such a horrific case of alleged neglect is how a vulnerable young child has slipped through the cracks and how this could have been prevented,’ he told the Courier Mail.
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.
‘That’s the big take-home for me. I can’t believe it.’
Police will allege Willow had been left with no food, and was badly malnourished.
A man is seen laying flowers outside the Cannon Hill home (pictured) of Willow Dunn, 4, who was found dead in her cot on Monday, police alleged
An investigator is seen on Tuesday removing evidence from the Cannon Hill home (pictured) where little Willow is said to have died
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.
He allegedly told police he found Willow dead in her cot, and later saw signs she had been attacked by rats, but no one raised the alarm for two days.
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.
Down Syndrome Queensland chief executive Darryl Steff told 7News the family had previously had contact with the charity.
Police have cordoned off the home (pictured on Tuesday) as they try to determine the cause of Willow’s death
WHAT IS QUEENSLAND’S TOUGH NEW MURDER LAW?
On 1 May 2019, Queensland legislated to expand the definition of murder under the Queensland Criminal Code.
Now, a person may be charged with murder if death is caused by a ‘reckless indifference to human life’.
Reckless indifference is the doing of an act with foresight that death will probably arise from that act.
The accused must have foreseen that the act would probably cause the death of the deceased, but continue doing that act anyway.
Source: Hamilton Janke Lawyers
‘We are very saddened about death of Willow. It is unacceptable for a child to die … regardless of disability,’ Mr Steff said.
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer gave no further detail over the department’s contact with the family.
‘The death of any child is a tragedy,’ she said in a statement.
‘I know the death of this little girl has had a profound impact on our community and my deepest sympathies go to those who knew and loved this child.’
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 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.
An abandoned stroller was left in the front of the property with a small basketball shaped toy attached to its handle.
Police have been at the Cannon Hill home (pictured on Tuesday) since emergency services found the toddler’s body on Monday
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 allegedly did not receive crucial medication, Seven News reported.
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.
One resident, Kathy Cowell, came to lay flowers outside the house in honour of Willow.
A forensic police officer is seen on Tuesday (pictured) removing items from the Cannon Hill home
An officer takes pictures of a car in the driveway of the Cannon Hill home on Tuesday (pictured)
‘It’s just a sad way for a little girl to go,’ she told 10 News.
‘I’ve got grandchildren, it’s just very, very sad. No four-year-old deserves to pass like that.’
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 said.
Police are seen recreating the floor plan of the house on Tuesday (pictured), showing the girl’s body was foun din a back bedroom upstairs
Parents at a nearby school, Cannon Hill Anglican College, were assured there was no threat to other children.
‘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,’ an email to parents read.
‘Your children are safe and are being kept totally unaware of the police presence outside the college.’
Investigators are seen on Tuesday (pictured) taking pictures of evidence recovered from the home