After a four year search, the man accused of killing Toyah Cordingley has been charged in QLD.

For Toyah Cordingley, October 21, 2018, started out like any ordinary Sunday.

Around midday, the pharmacy worker went to Rusty’s Market in Cairns. Afterward, she was captured on CCTV as she crossed a road, wearing a crocheted singlet top and carrying a colourful, striped bag.

Later that afternoon, Toyah drove 40km to Wangetti Beach, along with her boyfriend Marco Heidenreich’s much-loved dog. She left her Mitsubishi Lancer, with the number plate “TOY 146”, in the carpark, and went for a walk on the sand. That was between 2pm and 2.30pm.

Sometime after that, on Wangetti Beach, Toyah was killed. Her body was later discovered by her father partially buried in the sand. 

Now, four years on, a man has been charged with the 24-year-old's murder. 

On Thursday evening, police confirmed Rajwinder Singh had been charged with one count of murder and is expected to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court on Friday, after being extradited from India. 

Singh touched down in far north Queensland aboard a privately chartered jet on Thursday after spending his first night in Australia behind bars following his extradition. 

Toyah's father, Troy Cordingley, said in a statement read by Detective Inspector Sonia Smith that he would continue to stay as strong as he could "until we reach some sort of justice for my beautiful girl, for Toyah."

Her mother, Vanessa Gardiner, thanked police and the community in a statement, which was also read by the detective inspector.


"We thank the community for their ongoing love and support throughout these difficult times. Now we wait patiently for the justice our beautiful daughter Toyah deserves," she wrote.

Singh flew to India not long after Toyah's remains were found, and he was extradited from Victoria to Queensland one day after he arrived in Australia on a flight from New Delhi.

Det Insp Smith said the killing of Cordingley had a significant impact on the Cairns community and her family and friends were still dealing with the loss.

"Now that the matter is before the court, I'd ask that the community not speculate and allow the justice process to be undertaken."

The search for Toyah Cordingley.

When Toyah failed to return home on Sunday October 21, 2018, her boyfriend Marco raised the alarm. Family searched into the night, armed with torches.

Toyah was officially reported missing at 10:50pm.

Bolstered by police and SES volunteers, the search continued in the darkness and through to the following morning. It was then, around 7.45am, that Toyah's father discovered her body in the sand.

"Toyah is my only child. Finding her body has burnt an indelible image in my mind," Troy wrote in a Facebook post that December. "It is something a father should never have to suffer.

"I feel lost and empty inside but will always have the wonderful memories of those 24 years… she should have had so many more."


Image: Facebook.

In the weeks after the young woman's death, her mother delivered a message to the public via Queensland Police.

"If there is anyone who is holding back or knows something about this, no matter how small the information may be, we plead with you to come forward to bring us closer to finding who and why anyone would do this to our Toyah," she said.


"You can help our broken family by bringing hope and justice for Toyah’s senseless death.

"Life for us will never, ever be the same.

"A message from Toyah to everyone, especially all the young women in the world – NEVER GIVE UP!"

Four years on. 

In the years following, the community has endeavoured to keep Toyah's memory alive and her case front of mind, with a permanent memorial erected at Wangetti Beach in 2019.

On the two-year anniversary of Toyah's death, people gathered at a venue in Ellis Beach, north of Cairns, in memory of the 24-year-old, who was described by loved ones as "beautiful" and "caring", and a woman who had a passion for animals, a love of sunflowers and the Harry Potter books.

"Two years," Troy wrote on social media at the time. "It seems like seems like one hundred years. I had a million things to say, but now I don't seem to be able to.

"I miss you more than life itself. I would trade places with you in an instant. I am now half the person I used to be, you are my world. You are all the love, joy and happiness I have ever known. You taught me to be a better person. Without you everything seems pointless.

"I LOVE YOU TOYAH, my Brighteyes, my world."

This article was originally published on October 21, 2020 and was updated on March 3, 2023.

- With AAP.