The man charged with killing Alice Springs mother Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson seven years ago has now been charged with the murder of her daughter Khandalyce.
Daniel James Holdom, 41, was arrested at Parramatta police station on Tuesday and appeared in court charged with Khandalyce’s murder.
He was refused bail, and remains in jail.
At a press conference, Detective Superintendent Mick Willing said Khandalyce was murdered just “a number of days” after her mother.
“Police will be alleging in court that it is our belief that Khandalyce was murdered here in New South Wales shortly after the murder of Karlie,” he said.
Police allege that Holdom killed Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson in or near the Belangalo State Forest south of Sydney in New South Wales sometime around December 15, 2008.
They claim that Holdom then killed Khandalyce while on the way to South Australia somewhere in or around the small New South Wales town of Wallaroo, between 2.17am on December 19 and 12.52am on December 20.
They say he then dumped her body in a suitcase on the side of the Karoonda Highway in the Murray Mallee in South Australia.
At the time of their deaths, Karlie was 20 and Khandalyce was two.
It was the discovery of a little girl’s body in a suitcase on the side of the road that triggered the investigation that led to Holdom’s arrest.
Karlie’s body was discovered by trail bike riders in 2010, but police had no leads as to what had happened. After Khandalyce was discovered, two separate calls to Crimestoppers linked the inter-state cases and gave police the breakthrough they needed.
“This has been a very intense investigation and at this point I’d again like to thank the public and the media for their assistance,” Detective Superintendent Willing said.
“We simply could not have been in the position to lay the charges that we have without the assistance of the public, so I thank you.”
Watch Khandalyce’s family’s statement on the charges:
Yesterday South Australian police said that the investigation had been an “extremely challenging and an intense investigation that’s spanned a length of time.”
“We believe that we have a very good understanding of what happened and that will come out in court,” Detective Superintendent Des Bray said.
South Australian Commissioner for Victims’ Rights Michael O’Connell read a statement from Karlie and Khandalyce’s family welcoming the news.
“Those who love Khandalyce want her killer called to account for such a despicable crime,” he said.
“Khandalyce’s grandfather has worried that until now that somewhere there was a child killer or killers at large, so other children might not be safe.
Mr O’Connell said the family wanted to thank police for their work on the case.
“Homicide is a most heinous crime. Karlie’s and Khandalyce’s family and friends have had their lives suddenly and horribly disrupted,” he said.
“Nothing has prepared these people for their suffering. For them, life will never be the same.
“They are thankful that they may now be able to get answers to questions which have haunted them. At the moment so many questions remain unanswered for them.”
Police in both states urged anyone who had not come forward with information about the case to do so.