- 7 hours ago March 03, 2015
JUST over a week ago the Costigan family was celebrating the arrival of a new baby girl as 28-year-old Tara Costigan gave birth to her third child, baby Ayla.
Now, the close-knit group of cousins and siblings is planning a funeral for the bubbly young mum.
Her body was discovered in the laundry of her Calwell apartment with the murder weapon, an axe, nearby.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Tara’s cousin Nathan Costigan told news.com.au the family was struggling to comprehend the tragedy that ripped them apart on the weekend.
“You would never in your wildest dreams assume that this is something that could happen to your family,” he said.
“It’s an incredible shock. At the moment our number one priority is the three kids.”
Tara’s murder left her two boys, Rhily, 11, Drew, nine, and one-week-old baby Ayla without a mother. Her former partner, Marcus Ruppel, is accused of Tara’s murder and the family is working with authorities.
Although Nathan admits he doesn’t exactly know what’s going to happen with the kids, they have plenty of support.
A GoFundMe campaign has raised over $40,000 for the young family attracting pledges from hundreds of supporters.
“The outpouring has just been incredible,” Nathan said.
“The kids will be all right, we’ll make sure they’re all right.”
The loving uncle said that right now it was “hard to know if they’re really okay”, and that he was pretty sure the eldest two children were still in shock, but the kids would be looked after as best the family could manage. He’s working with police and authorities to make sure the kids are getting everything they need.
“We’re trying to keep their minds distracted for now because they probably know too much for a nine and 11-year-old,” he said.
“The Costigan side of the family is very close, those three kids are everyone’s number one priority right now.”
Tara loved to serve and care for people, her cousin says. She’ll be remembered as “a beautiful soul who was always smiling and willing to help others whenever and however she could”.
“The odds were against her, but she never gave up,” Nathan said.
“All her family were proud of her unshakable commitment to doing the best she can do. She worked hard to be able to send both her boys to a private school and she recently purchased her first new car.”
Tara’s grandmother said: “Our whole family is just devastated”.
Cousin Nathan says being a single mother and a carer and heavily pregnant, she had a very busy life.
“She didn’t like to cause trouble … she was just a gorgeous girl.”
Tara’s distraught family members had to be physically restrained, yelling abuse at her accused killer when he appeared at a Canberra court yesterday.
Rappel, 40, is accused of her murder, assault occasioning bodily harm and recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.
He is alleged to have forced his way into Ms Costigan’s villa, killing Ms Costigan with an axe and inflicting grievous bodily harm on a second woman and seriously assaulting a man, the Canberra Times reports.
He did not apply for bail and the matter has been adjourned until March 17.