The stepmum of Willow Dunn, who was allegedly left to die in her cot, has been described as a doting mother who enjoyed spoiling her biological children.
The four-year-old girl was found dead at her home in Cannon Hill, east Brisbane, on Monday in what police will allege is one of Australia’s worst ever cases of child neglect.
Her father Mark James Dunn, 43, has been charged with her murder.
Willow’s stepmother, Shannon White, who was also living at the property, has not been charged.
Ms White thought of herself as a ‘helicopter mum’ to her biological children.
She sent a text message to a friend last year which read: ‘He’s like four inches from my bed, I’m a helicopter mum lol.’
Willow Dunn, 4, (pictured left) was found dead at her home in Cannon Hill, east Brisbane, on Monday and her father Mark James Dunn (pictured middle), 43, was charged with her murder
Willow’s step-mum, Shannon White (pictured), was described as a ‘doting’ mother who ‘spoiled’ her biological children and partied with her adult daughter
Another message revealed she said the child was ‘spoiled’ after getting a new walker, The Courier Mail reported.
A friend of Ms White, who met the mum when buying baby clothes from her on Facebook, said he had visited the Cannon Hill home for a children’s playdate but did not see Willow.
He said his impression of Ms White was ‘that she was a doting mum and gave her children what they wanted’.
The man explained Ms White had been excited about her adult daughter coming to live with her and said the pair would often party together.
‘She would post about going out clubbing and always posting photos of how much alcohol she had bought for her night out and it escalated a lot when her daughter came up,’ he said.
The investigation into Willow’s death is still ongoing, police are still trying to piece together the ‘days, months and years’ leading up to her death.
Willow Dunn’s (pictured) body was found decomposing in her bed and police revealed she died of malnourishment and sustained neglect
A post-mortem has revealed Willow was ‘experiencing serious malnourishment, along with many other health concerns that supported sustained mistreatment’.
Willow’s mother, who was friend’s with Ms White for more than 20 years, died just days after giving birth.
Shortly after her death Ms White moved from South Australia to live with the widower in Queensland.
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.
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.
Naomi Dunn (pictured, left) died after giving birth to Willow in 2015. A year earlier, Shannon White (right) had been bridesmaid at her wedding – but later ‘shacked up with her husband’
It is understood Willow was known to the Child Safety department, but was not registered with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Acting Detective Inspector Chris Knight from the homicide squad said police had spoken to all members of the household, including Willow’s 19-year-old step-sister.
‘We continue to investigate all aspects of Willow’s life, being her care, her health and her treatment in the days weeks, months and years leading up to her death,’ Inspector Knight said.
‘Our investigation will continue until detectives are satisfied that we’ve exhausted all options to make a thorough evaluation and decide whether any other culpability exists for any other people that had responsibility to provide care for Willow.’
He admitted paramedics and police had found the scene ‘extremely confronting’ when they arrived at the family home.
Ms White became Willow’s stepmother after having previously been a bridesmaid at her parent’s 2014 wedding (pictured Mark Dunn, left, and Naomi, right)