Independent News and Media

Murdered child found in suitcase in SA remains unidentified

THE remains of a "murdered" young child found in a suitcase on an Australian highway, have yet to be identified.

"It is terribly clear that the child died a violent death under terrible circumstances... everything about this case is tragic," chief detective Des Bray said.

Due to the degraded nature of the body, police have not yet been able to determine the gender or DNA of the child but have reportedly been able to rule out 10 potential victims.

Police believe that the child was aged between three and five and suffered a "violent, horrible death".

The suitcase may have been dumped around two months before it was discovered and the child could have been killed a "long, long time" before that, police said.

Drivers with dashcams are being asked to search through their footage to see if they have recorded anyone in the area where the suitcase was found.

Wynarka, the town one mile from where to body was dumped, has fewer than 200 residents.

The tiny body, which was found just off the Karoonda Highway in the Murray Mallee region on 15 July, had been left in a suitcase with children's clothes.

The clothing included a purple Dora the Explorer T-shirt, blue pyjama shorts, a pair of pink tracksuit bottoms and a tutu dress in small sizes.

Police believe that the unidentified child was murdered in another location before being left by the motorway. The motive and exact time frame of the attack are unknown.

They are asking people to come forward with information about a man whom four witnesses saw walking along the Karoonda Highway, carrying a dark suitcase, at about 8.00am one morning about six to eight weeks ago.

He is described as being "aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed. He was not a local," Detective Bray said.

Four-year-old William Tyrell went missing in September when it is believed that he was abducted from his grandmother's garden in Kendall, north of Sydney. He was three at the time of his disappearance.

It was speculated that William may have been the child that was found murdered, however, police now say that it is "unlikely" to be him.

"We can't say that it is definitely not William Tyrell but we believe at this stage, knowing the full facts of the case, that it's less likely," police said.

William was wearing a Spiderman suit while playing in his family's garden when he disappeared. Police believe that he may have been kidnapped by a paedophile ring.

"[One line] of inquiry relates to people we suspect [of] being involved in a paedophile ring," homicide squad commander Mick Willing said of the investigation. "We are vigorously pursuing that line of inquiry."

William's mother has made a plea for her son to be returned: "Just give him back. Take him to a church, take him to a police station, take him to school. Give him to someone, give him back."

"We need to know what happened to him because we can't live forever like this," the mother-of-two said tearfully.

"There are many young families in the district and like all parents around the nation we are holding our children a little tighter, kissing them often and telling them we love them," a Wynarka resident, Caroline Phillips told Australian media.

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