A forensic search is in full swing on the Gold Coast as police divers search murky water in the Pimpama River in the hope of finding clues as to who murdered 12 year old school girl Tiahleigh Palmer.
Thousands of dollars have been raised by the local community to pay the costs for Tiah’s funeral, however her body has not yet been released to the family as forensic tests are still underway.
A cause of death has not been determined with reports the results could still be some weeks away.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has vowed to review response processes to missing children in state care. The Australian newspaper reports the Premier has written to the Queensland Family and Child Crime Commission’s principal commissioner Cheryl Vardon seeking a whole-of-government systems review into how agencies respond to missing or absconding children in out-of-home care.
The system has been brought into focus after 12-year-old Tiahleigh’s body was discovered on a Gold Coast riverbank last week, six days after she went missing on October 30.
Child protection advocates and foster care specialists have reportedly criticised restrictions on what can be reported to the public when a child in care goes missing.
Police had only issued a missing persons alert – not including her name – hours before her body was found.
The Marsden State High School year 7 student’s purple Mambo-branded backpack and school uniform are yet to be located.
On Monday police interviewed 43 of Tiahleigh’s schoolmates with more set to be interviewed on Tuesday. A search of the area around the school will be conducted on Wednesday.
Police are renewing their appeal for anyone with information, in particular dashcam or CCTV footage from Chambers Flat Road near Tiahleigh’s school, to contact them.
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart says despite the lack of clues, his team are determined to solve the mystery.
“There are people out there who’ve done this or a person out there who’s done this,” Mr Stewart said.
“Our focus must be on trying to identify that person and bring them to justice as quickly as possible so that this doesn’t happen again.”