Willow Dunn’s stepmother charged with murder
THE tearful stepmother of four-year-old Willow Dunn has been taken from Morningside Police Station in custody after being charged with murder.
Shannon White, 43, is expected to have her charge heard in court this afternoon after detectives arrested her this morning over the little girl's death.
White has been jointly charged with Willow's father, Mark Dunn, under new laws that allow police to charge someone with murder in relation to the reckless indifference of human life.
Willow's body was found last Monday following a call to Triple-0 from her Cannon Hill home. Police and paramedics arrived to find Willow, who had Down Syndrome, dead and decomposing. Detectives believe she could have been dead for days.
She had sores so severe her hip bones were exposed, was malnourished and suffering from infection.
Police are investigating whether she was neglected and given little to no food for an extended period of time, saying their investigation will span into the "days, months and years" of her life.
Detective Inspector Chris Knight from the Homicide Investigation Unit said the investigation was not over and inquiries were now being made in New South Wales and South Australia.
"Earlier today, detectives arrested the 43-year-old stepmother of Willow Dunn, charging her with murder," he said.
"She's expected to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court later on today.
"Despite today's second arrest in this homicide, detectives are continuing to progress this investigation.
"We have advanced investigations that will continue and progress into South Australia.
"We have enlisted assistance from the South Australia Police Major Crime Squad."
Det Insp Knight said members of Willow's family moved to Queensland from South Australia in 2017 and police wanted to speak to anyone who knew of them and the family dynamic.
It is understood White and an adult daughter were among those who relocated from South Australia.
White was a close friend of Willow's biological mother, Naomi Dunn, who died soon after giving birth.
"We continue to obtain information from potential witnesses who are assisting us to build a clearer picture of the dynamics relating to Willow Dunn's family," Det Insp Knight said.
"Our investigative team are not yet satisfied that we've exhausted all inquiries and will continue to investigate and evaluate all information that we come by so that we can make better informed decisions in the future."
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He said the scene that confronted emergency services workers at Cannon Hill was tragic.
"The scene that presented was extremely confronting and I maintain that. That hasn't changed," he said.
"But despite some of those emotional challenges that would face anybody in those circumstances, it also sets the tone and drives the investigators to get the best and the fairest outcome we possibly can. Because essentially, Willow no longer has that voice.
"It provides incredible motivation for all the police involved."
Originally published as Little Willow's stepmother arrested