The hunt for the killer of tragic ‘suitcase girl’ found at Wynarka SA

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We have all seen this tragic story on TV, in the papers, online and radio. I cannot fathom that there is nobody out there that knows something about the little girl who has died and been dumped in the most awful of ways and said NOTHING. Posting here hopefully will help. Our friends at webslueths are doing everything they can to bust open this mystery, congrats!

Sally, Gaf and Miss X: The clothing tags police identify as the latest chilling clues in the hunt for the killer of tragic ‘suitcase girl’… but her identity is STILL a mystery

  • Police have released images of five clothing tags found in a suitcase
  • The skeleton of the girl was found dumped with the suitcase of clothing on a highway near a remote outback South Australian town 
  • The tags of the five unidentified items of clothing indicate they are from brands Gaf, H.F., Miss X Australia, Sally and Haolailh 
  • Investigators are tracking down brands in the hope of identifying child 
  • Earlier mothers on a blog identified the black tutu found with the bones  

Police have released images of more clothing tags in the hope of finding the murderer of a young girl whose body was found in a suitcase beside a highway last month.

South Australian detectives have revealed that of around 50 items of clothing found with the child’s remains, they are yet to identify the brands of five items.

The bones, which police say belong to a girl aged between two and four years old who died up to eight years ago, were found dumped on the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of Wynarka in South Australia.

The tags of the five unidentified items of clothing indicate they are from brands Gaf, H.F., Miss X Australia, Sally and Haolailh.

Police have released more images of clothing found in a suitcase with the remains of a young girl last month

Police have released more images of clothing found in a suitcase with the remains of a young girl last month

They hope by revealing the tags on the clothes it will bring them closer to whoever was responsible for the child's death

The Haolailh tag is from the distinctive Dora The Explorer top, one of the more recognisable items along with the navy blue Cotton On tutu, according to News Corp.

‘We hope either a retailer or member of the public may be able to identify where the items have been or still are sold,’ Major Crime officer-in-charge Detective Superintendent Des Bray said.

‘The Dora the Explorer top is pretty individual and someone may remember this and remember seeing a little girl they once knew wearing it.’

Locating the buyer of a dark blue tutu found in the suitcase is one of the other strong lines of inquiry being taken by police.

This tag came from a distinctive Dora The Explorer top found in the suitcase

'We hope either a retailer or member of the public may be able to identify where the items have been or still are sold,' Major Crime officer-in-charge Detective Superintendent Des Bray said

‘We hope either a retailer or member of the public may be able to identify where the items have been or still are sold,’ Major Crime officer-in-charge Detective Superintendent Des Bray said

This Miss X Australia label is also one of the brands investigators are still trying to locate

This Miss X Australia label is also one of the brands investigators are still trying to locate

Late last month a group of mothers on the ‘websleuths’ online forum uncovered new clues in the case of the murdered ‘suitcase girl’ whose remains were dumped with a bag of children’s clothing by the side of the road in a remote outback railway siding town.

In a discussion on a websleuths.com forum, the women have identified the distinctive black tutu adorned with large sequins as a Cotton On brand dress for young girls which was discontinued several years ago.

The keen-eyed blog posters also identified the item originally described as a child’s ruler as a Lanza brand luggage tag, probably from the faded bag in which the remains lay amid numerous items of clothing, and a patchwork quilt found in a degraded state as an ‘I-spy’ quilt.

When one woman blogger named Pheme on the websleuths.com online forum spotted this distinctive little girls' black tutu dress, she knew it was the same model as the one she had bought her daughter from Cotton On and that it had been made a few years ago 

When one woman blogger named Pheme on the websleuths.com online forum spotted this distinctive little girls’ black tutu dress, she knew it was the same model as the one she had bought her daughter from Cotton On and that it had been made a few years ago 

Pheme's discovery sparked Snoop Dog on the websleuth forum to track down this ebay image of the black tutu dress with its distinctive cross-stitched large sequins, which differ in colour to a few of the sequins on the found dress, perhaps because of the garment's degradation lying for weeks in the open on an outback road

Keen amateur sleuths like Snoop Dog (who posted this on websleuth) are busily trying to solve the mystery of where the clothing found with the murdered girl's body might come from, thus leading detectives closer to the identification of the skeletal remains of the 2 to 4-year-old dumped by an outback highway in July

Keen amateur sleuths like Snoop Dog (who posted this on websleuth) are busily trying to solve the mystery of where the clothing found with the murdered girl’s body might come from, thus leading detectives closer to the identification of the skeletal remains of the 2 to 4-year-old dumped by an outback highway in July

Thought at first to be a child's ruler, the metallic object above was soon identified on websleuth.com as actually coming from a suitcase, which police then identified as a Lanza brand piece of luggage

Spotted: websleuth poster astorytold (above) promptly identified the 'child's ruler' as a luggage label for the Lanza brand, which was sold by the shop Strandbags but seems to be no longer widely available

Spotted: websleuth poster astorytold (above) promptly identified the ‘child’s ruler’ as a luggage label for the Lanza brand, which was sold by the shop Strandbags but seems to be no longer widely available

The Lanza logo with its distinctive diagonal motif belongs to a brand of luggage which appears to be no longer  widely available which fits in with the South Australian police estimated date of the murder of the little girl dumped with the suitcase, possibly as far back as 2007

This websleuth blogger also recognised the black tutu, saying her daughter wore a similar garment until she was about four years old, placing the item in the age framework put forward by police who believe the murdered girl was a preschooler of Caucasian appearance with fair hair and about 90cm tall

This websleuth blogger also recognised the black tutu, saying her daughter wore a similar garment until she was about four years old, placing the item in the age framework put forward by police who believe the murdered girl was a preschooler of Caucasian appearance with fair hair and about 90cm tall

This weather-beaten suitcase (above) was dumped by the Karoonda highway and lay there for weeks until a passer by stopped and and inspected it, along with children's clothes among which was the skeleton of an unidentified murdered girl

 This weather-beaten suitcase (above) was dumped by the Karoonda highway and lay there for weeks until a passer by stopped and and inspected it, along with children’s clothes among which was the skeleton of an unidentified murdered girl

An original Lanza brand suitcase (pictured) which SA police presented at a press conference about the continuing investigation into the murdered 'suitcase girl' dumped 120km south-east of Adelaide

An original Lanza brand suitcase (pictured) which SA police presented at a press conference about the continuing investigation into the murdered ‘suitcase girl’ dumped 120km south-east of Adelaide

Online speculation has been rife since South Australian police revealed the discovery of the bag with the skeleton of a young girl who police say died ‘a violent and terrible death’.

The bones were found dumped on the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of Wynarka in South Australia.

A tiny railway siding township 120km south-east of Adelaide, Wynarka lies on the truck route between the South Australian grain belt and Port Adelaide.

Residents living in the handful of houses at Wynarka noticed a ‘mystery man’ carrying a suitcase on the Karoonda Highway on April 13 and May 26. The man was about 60 years old, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed.

Detectives are trying to identify the body of young child

When SA Police released this image of this badly degraded but colourful quilt found with the child's body, quilters quickly went to work identifying seven of the fabrics used in the hexagonal patches, including the 'musical note' material in the border which was sold at Spotlight fabric outlet some years ago

Exact matches: The musical note and pumpkin patterned fabrics were identically matched by police with help from the public, and quilting experts have spread the word through mothers’ quilting groups and online forums which have lit up with discussions by people keen to solve the mystery of the dead girl’s origins

Quilters took to the SA Police Facebook page to write about the 'musical note' fabric and to say they had passed on the mystery information to their mother's quilting group in the hope of helping to crack the case

Quilters took to the SA Police Facebook page to write about the ‘musical note’ fabric and to say they had passed on the mystery information to their mother’s quilting group in the hope of helping to crack the case

Can you fill in the gaps?: Seven hexagonal squares out of 25 plus the border in the degraded quilt (left) have had their fabric positively identified (right), with the star material being a Spotlight fabric possibly made in the US, and readers eagerly trying to match up the faded remnants with textile patterns they know

Can you fill in the gaps?: Seven hexagonal squares out of 25 plus the border in the degraded quilt (left) have had their fabric positively identified (right), with the star material being a Spotlight fabric possibly made in the US, and readers eagerly trying to match up the faded remnants with textile patterns they know

Another clue: Mellisa Preusker, writing on the police Facebook page, is still trying to identify the more faded patchwork pieces in the degraded quilt found with the murdered girl's body, believing one to depict a unicorn

Another clue: Mellisa Preusker, writing on the police Facebook page, is still trying to identify the more faded patchwork pieces in the degraded quilt found with the murdered girl’s body, believing one to depict a unicorn

Daniella Erin thought the same patch believed to be 'a unicorn' was possibly a cartoon face of a lady, perhaps a Lorelei, but while she recognises it she cannot 'for the life of me' pin down where she knows it from

Daniella Erin thought the same patch believed to be ‘a unicorn’ was possibly a cartoon face of a lady, perhaps a Lorelei, but while she recognises it she cannot ‘for the life of me’ pin down where she knows it from

On July 15, a motorist who claimed they were ‘drawn to something on the side of the road’, found a faded suitcase lying open with clothing and other items scattered nearby close to the road and near a set of low bushes dotting the landscape.

When police investigated, they noticed a jawbone poking through piles of children’s clothing.

Stuffed into a 40cm wide weather-beaten case, in between a Dora the Explorer t-shirt and pink tracksuit pants, a pink toweling slipper, black tutu dress and satin Size 2 boxer shorts with kittens and teddy bears on them, were the skeletal remains of a child.

Forensic officers who examined the bones say the girl was between two-and-a-half and four years old, Caucasian with fair hair and could have died up to eight years ago.

The skeleton of the murdered girl was found in a suitcase dumped on the Karoonda Highway near Wynarka (above), a tiny railway siding township 120km south-east of Adelaide, lying on the truck route between the South Australian grain belt and Port Adelaide

Residents living in the handful of houses at Wynarka noticed a 'mystery man' carrying a suitcase on the Karoonda Highway on April 13 and May 26. The man was about 60 years old, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed 

The folorn sight of this little girl's pink slipper found with the murdered child's remains has so far sparked no recognition from the public

Daily Mail Australia could find only one partial match for the found slipper, a French 'chausson' (above) for 0-18 month old girls strikingly similar in design but with a 'Hello Kitty' motif instead, suggesting the butterfly slipper may be a copy

The folorn sight of a little girl’s pink slipper (left)  found with the slain child’s remains has sparked no matches to date, with Daily Mail Australia finding only the French slipper (right) for 0-18 month old girls strikingly similar in design but with a ‘Hello Kitty’ motif inbstead, suggesting the butterfly slipper may be a copy

The gap between the estimated time of the girl’s terrible death and the dumping of her remains fits in with what the websleuth bloggers have deduced about the origins of the clothing.

Police released photographs of the black tutu dress, the pink slipper embroidered with a butterfly motif, a smiley-faced T-shirt, what they originally thought was ‘a child’s ruler’, two pairs of boxer shorts made from the teddy bear and kitten patterned fabric, and the faded suitcase.

The photographs sparked excited chatter among the websleuth bloggers who quickly identified the ‘child’s ruler’ as the plastic tag from a Lanza brand bag, with its distinctive diagonal logo.

They moved on to the issue of  the black tutu dress, which also had a distinctive feature of large coloured sequins cross-sewn onto the tulle skirt of the garment.

The amateur sleuthing of the blogger mum and others who have posted on a police Facebook page place the clothing or fabric as dating back to at least seven years ago, tying in with the date SA police estimate the child was murdered.

Websleuth blogger Pheme quickly identified the tutu dress as ‘from a store called Cotton On. My daughter had the same one when she was about 2. Not sure how long they stocked it for though or even if they still do’.


The murdered girl in the suitcase

Found: On July 15 on the outback Karoonda Highway near Wynarka, 120km south-east of Adelaide

Sighting: 60-year-old clean cut, well-dressed Caucasian man seen April-May carrying a suitcase on the highway

The victim: 

  • • Believed to be a girl who died ‘a violent and terrible death’
  • • Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death 
  • • Likely Caucasian
  • • Had fair hair, 18cm long
  • • Was 90-95cm tall
  • • Was killed at another location
  • • Was killed some time since the start of 2007

Items found with the skeletal remains of the victim:

Black sequinned tutu dress, pink slipper with butterfly motif, Dora the Explorer outfit, boxer shorts, patchwork quilt and a Lanza brand suitcase

Snoop Dog responded, finding a photograph on ebay of an almost identical black tutu made by the Australian clothing giant Cotton On.

The only difference was the large cross-sewn sequins were of a single pale pink colour, whereas on the tutu found with the slain child, some of the sequins appeared blue or green, but this could have been as a result of the weathering which has also seen the deteriorated black bodice of the outfit lose much of its colour.

Daily Mail Australia has also identified a pink slipper, strikingly similar in design of the found item, but with a ‘Hello Kitty’ motif instead of the embroidered butterfly design.

Police then released a photograph of a badly degraded, colourful quilt, and quilters lit up the South Australian Police Facebook page with a discussion about the origin of the fabric squares in the quilt design.

Following this, the SA Police released a further image of the 90cm square quilt along with seven octagonal patches identified by their fabric, featuring musical notes, stars, teddies, a camel, pumpkins, flowers, insects and animals.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray, the officer in charge the SA Police Major Crime Investigation Branch, said the identified quilt patches included the pumpkin design and the musical notes border, which were an exact match, and the other fabric patches were a close likeness.

Supt Bray said the images of the items found with the girls’ remains had sparked a massive public response.

On the SA Police Facebook page, quilter Emma Stenhouse wrote that the kind of quilt in the photo released by SA Police was often called an ‘I-spy’ quilt as they could be used with children playing the I-spy game.

Emilee Egeberg went to Google images and wrote on the Facebook page that she had found a product called an ‘I spy kids quilt’ from 2008, which had the exact musical note fabric in some of its patches.

Could this 'I-spy' quilt be made by the same quilt maker who produced the degraded item found with the body of the murdered girl dumped by the South Australian highway in July?

Could this ‘I-spy’ quilt be made by the same quilt maker who produced the degraded item found with the body of the murdered girl dumped by the South Australian highway in July?

After Facebook poster Emma Stenhouse identified the quilt as possibly from a series of patchwork quilts called 'I-spy' used in the game of the same name played with children, Emilee Egeberg wrote (above) that she went on to Google images to find a quilt with the exact musical note and star fabric of the found item

After Facebook poster Emma Stenhouse identified the quilt as possibly from a series of patchwork quilts called ‘I-spy’ used in the game of the same name played with children, Emilee Egeberg wrote (above) that she went on to Google images to find a quilt with the exact musical note and star fabric of the found item

Heather Symons wrote that the musical note fabric had been around 20 years ago, sold by the Spotlight fabric outlet, and that the star fabric was from the same series.

Emma Rains shared the information with ‘my Mum’s patchwork group’, saying ‘someone must know something’.

Speculation that the fabric from the United States, meaning the quilt was possibly American-made, was quashed by the SA police, who said the fabric was probably imported from the US and sold here.

Other posters on the police Facebook page, who are taking a closer look at the patchwork designs, may come up with further clues.

Mellissa Preusker thought she could identify the ‘2nd hexagon from the right, top row. Looks like a ‘Unicorn’ fabric with a white unicorn head (facing to the left) and pink background. Seems familiar, but not sure where i have seen it.’

Daniella Erin wrote on the page that she recognised the ‘cartoon face of a lady … but for the life of me I can;t figure out from where. Maybe a Loralie design?!? I’m hoping somebody else does. It’s been driving me nuts.’

SA Police are continuing their investigation and say they have excluded 32 missing children as the potential victim.

Anyone who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/


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The following are media releases, photographs and press conferences relating to the discovery of a child’s skeletal remains near the Karoonda Highway about 2kms west of Wynarka in the Murray Mallee region. The remains were located by a member of the public on 14 July 2015, with police advised early 15 July. Anyone with information about the matter is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

These items are in chronological order – with the oldest items at the bottom of the page.

A poster relating to the murder can be downloaded here.

5 August 2015

Task Force Mallee investigators fan out from Wynarka

Task Force Mallee investigators continued their widespread canvass of the Wynarka area today in relation to the ongoing investigation into the murder of an unidentified little girl.

Officers from the Task Force, along with police from the Murray Mallee Local Service Area and State Tactical Response Group, yesterday began canvassing within a 25km radius of where the child’s remains were found in July, seeking information from the community.

The little girl was found, along with a faded suitcase, items of clothing and a degraded quilt, discarded near the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region.  Her identity remains a mystery.

As part of the door-knock, police are speaking with residents, businesses operators and employees, schools, doctors and anyone else connected with the local community.

“Today our officers fanned out from the township of Wynarka to visit farming properties within the search zone,” said Detective Inspector Greg Hutchins, Major Crime Investigation Branch.

“There are many unknowns with this case.

“This is a horrific case centred on the murder of a young girl -someone must know something.

“A police forward command post has been established at the Karoonda Football Club and anyone with information is welcome to stop by and talk with police.”

Posters and letters will be distributed throughout the wider community and across the Murray Mallee Local Service Area as part of the operation.

The posters feature the distinctive black tutu dress and quilt found with the remains.  Of note, only 28 of the Cotton On Kids dresses were sold within South Australia about eight years ago.  The quilt was handmade, but machine-stitched.

To date 643 reports have been made to Crime Stoppers in connection with the case, and 60 children eliminated as potential victims.

Police are also seeking further information about a man seen in the area with a dark suitcase on both 13 April and 26 May.

Seen by locals who did not recognise him, he is described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

What police know about the girl:

* Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death

* Likely Caucasian

* Had fair hair, 18 cm long

* Was 90-95 cm tall

* Was killed at another location

* Was killed some time between the start of 2007 and 12-18 months ago

4 August 2015

Wide-spread canvass of Wynarka area begins

Task Force Mallee will today begin a large-scale canvass of the Wynarka area as the investigation into the discovery of a little girl’s remains continues.

Officers from the Task Force, along with police from the Murray Mallee Local Service Area and State Tactical Response Group, will begin doorknocking in the area around where the discovery was made in July, seeking information from the community.

The little girl was found, along with a faded suitcase, items of clothing and a degraded quilt, discarded near the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region.

“We believe that someone in this area will have vital information for investigators,” Detective Superintendent Des Bray, the officer in charge of the Major Crime Investigation Branch, said.

“Someone loved this little girl. Someone other than her killer knows who she is and what happened to her.

“We are appealing to that person to come forward and talk to us.”

Dtv-Supt Bray said police would be speaking with residents, businesses operators and employees, schools, doctors and anyone else connected with the local community.

Today he noted that a quilt and a little black dress – which were both found with the girl – may hold the key to identifying her.

“The reality is we haven’t had anybody come forward that has had that exact quilt so we do think that quilt is still very distinctive and could hold the key to solving this,” he said.

He also noted there were only 28 dresses sold by Cotton on Kids throughout South Australia about eight years ago and it was not sold over the internet or in markets “so again that dress may hold the key”.

Black tutu style dress

“It’s a very challenging investigation and I don’t think that anyone would have thought that weeks later we would still be trying to identify the little girl.

“But every day we’ve been able to find out a little bit more than the day before and if every day continues like that then I’m happy.

Posters and letters will be distributed throughout the wider community as part of the operation.

“At this time we will be canvassing a 25km radius around where she was found, but we may extend that as the inquiry continues,” he said.

“Police will be establishing a forward command post at the Karoonda Football Club today (4 August), and anyone with information is welcome to stop by and talk with police.”

Data provided by the community will be cross referenced as Task Force Mallee investigators continue to follow leads in the inquiry into the girl’s identity and death.

 

At this time 610 reports have been made to Crime Stoppers in connection with the case, and 55 children eliminated as potential victims.

Police will also be seeking further information about a man seen in the area with a dark suitcase on both 13 April and 26 May.

Seen by locals who did not recognise him, he is described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed.

“Despite many inquiries about the man with the suitcase we have been unable to identify him,” Det-Supt Bray said.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

What police know about the girl:

* Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death

* Likely Caucasian

* Had fair hair, 18cm long

* Was 90-95cm tall

* Was killed at another location

* Was killed some time since the start of 2007 and 12-18 months ago

Poster

31 July

Task Force Mallee expanded

An additional five police officers have been assigned to Task Force Mallee as SA Police continue to investigate the death of a little girl whose skeletal remains were found alongside the Karoonda Highway earlier this month.
The officer in charge of the Major Crime Investigation Branch, Detective Superintendent Des Bray said lines of inquiry are also being issued to detectives across the state on a daily basis.
He added that while forensic work is continuing, it has been confirmed that the remains are those of a girl.
She was found by police, along with a faded suitcase, items of clothing and a degraded quilt (pictured top right), near the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region on 15 July.
Taskforce Mallee was established in the wake of the discovery with 15 police officers initially assigned to the investigation, along with a significant forensic response.
To date 550 reports have been made to Crime Stoppers in connection with the case, and 53 children have been eliminated by investigators as potential victims.
“The massive public response has generated many lines of inquiry in addition to opportunities being identified by investigators,” Dtv-Supt Bray said.
“All of this information is assessed, prioritised and issued for investigation on a daily basis.
“The investigation is continuing at full speed while we await the results of forensic analysis.”
He noted that despite receiving a very large number of calls in respect to the homemade, machine-sewn quilt, the information supplied has not resulted in Task Force Mallee identifying a potential victim at this stage.
Police are also still seeking to identify a man seen in the area with a dark suitcase on both 13 April and 26 May.
Seen by locals who did not recognise him, he is described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed.
“Despite many inquiries about the man with the suitcase we have been unable to identify him,” Det-Supt Bray said.
Anyone with information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/
What police know about the girl:
* Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death
* Likely Caucasian
* Had fair hair, 18cm long
* Was 90-95cm tall
* Was killed at another location
* Was killed some time since the start of 2007

29 July 2015

Task Force Mallee rules out Madeleine McCann

Missing UK girl Madeleine McCann has been ruled out as the victim in the South Australia Police inquiry into a child’s remains found at Wynarka earlier this month.

The officer in charge of the SA Police Major Crime Investigation Branch, Detective Superintendent Des Bray today said that 43 children had now been eliminated as potential victims.

“I can confirm that Madeleine McCann has been totally excluded as a potential victim and UK Police have been advised,” he said. “Task Force Mallee has no further comment to make about this line of inquiry.”

To date there have been 511 reports made to Crime Stoppers since the child’s remains were found –  along with a faded suitcase, items of clothing and a degraded quilt – near the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region on 15 July.

What police know about the child:

*             Believed to be a girl

*             Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death

*             Likely Caucasian

*             Had fair hair, 18cm long

*             Was 90-95cm tall

*             Was killed at another location

*             Was killed some time since the start of 2007

Anyone who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au

27 July 2015

‘Massive’ public response regarding Wynarka child

More than 400 reports have been made to Crime Stoppers in connection with the discovery of a little girl’s remains near the Karoonda Highway on 15 July.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray, the officer in charge the SA Police Major Crime Investigation Branch, said there had been a massive response from the public in relation to the murder inquiry – with a total of 410 reports made to Crime Stoppers, including 194 since Friday.

The child’s remains were located along with a faded suitcase, items of clothing and a degraded quilt near the highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region.

Images of the distinctive 90cm x 90cm homemade quilt were released on Sunday following forensic examination, and today Task Force Mallee investigators released a further digital image with seven of the quilt’s 25 octagonal patches now identified.

The image of the pumpkins and the 125mm-wide border fabric featuring music notes are exactly the same as those on the original quilt and the other images are a very close likeness, Det-Supt Bray said.

“We are extremely grateful for the level of community support we have received, and as a result of that support the investigation continues to progress each day,” he said.

At this time 32 children have been excluded as potential victims.

“It is highly unlikely that the victim in Madeleine McCann,” he added.

“At this time our inquiries will focus on where the evidence leads us in this investigation and at this point that primary focus remains within Australia.”

What police know about the child:

*             Believed to be a girl

*             Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death

*             Likely Caucasian

*             Had fair hair, 18cm long

*             Was 90-95cm tall

*             Was killed at another location

*             Was killed some time since the start of 2007

Anyone who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

Digital image of quilt

26 July 2015

Quilt may hold key to Wynarka child’s identity

Photographs of a degraded quilt located, along with the remains of a child, at Wynarka earlier this month, have been released by Task Force Mallee investigators today.

Following close forensic examination, details of the 90cm x 90cm quilt have been released to the public in a bid to identify the child, who police believe was a young girl aged two-and-a-half to four at the time of her death.

Her skeletal remains were found along with a suitcase, items of clothing and the quilt near the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region on 15 July.

The officer in charge of the Major Crime Investigation Branch, Detective Superintendent Des Bray, said on Friday that police believe the child could have died up to eight years ago and that she was killed at another location.

At some stage she was placed in the suitcase before it was left at the Wynarka location – sometime since mid-March.

Investigators believe the suitcase and its contents – including the child – were left at the location by an unknown person behind a bush and that at some stage someone tipped most of the contents out behind a nearby bush and left the suitcase near the roadside.

Among those items was the quilt, which appears to be homemade although it’s been machine-stitched.

That fact, along with its filling of a light-coloured polyester material, could indicate that its maker intended it to be washed regularly, police believe.

Dtv Supt Bray also noted that much of the quilt is badly degraded, but the fabric which is still intact reveals a wide border of black material illustrated with musical notes along with images of a pumpkin patch, a camel and dragonflies.

“It has been suggested this is a so-called i-Spy quilt which is especially constructed to allow a parent to play i-Spy with the child using the images stitched into the blanket,” he said.

“Someone loved that little girl and either made her, or gave her, that quilt. I would appeal for whoever loved her to get in touch with us.”

He added that investigators with Task Force Mallee continue to follow lines of inquiry, with 273 calls made to Crime Stoppers to date.

As a result, police have eliminated 25 children from the investigation who have been nominated as potential victims, but have been determined to be alive.

Police are still appealing to a man seen in the area about six to eight weeks ago with a dark suitcase to come forward. They have confirmed sightings of him with a suitcase near Karoonda on both 13 April and 26 May.

Described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed, he was seen by a number of locals in the area and investigators are seeking to identify him and potentially exclude him from the inquiry.

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

What police know about the child:

*             Believed to be a girl

*             Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death

*             Likely Caucasian

*             Had fair hair, 18cm long

*             Was 90-95cm tall

*             Was killed at another location

*             Was killed some time since the start of 2007

Quilt found with bones near Wynarka

23 July 2015

Wynarka child believed to be a girl

SA Police have today announced they believe the skeletal human remains found near Wynarka last week are those of a girl aged two-and-a-half to four years.

At a press conference today, the officer in charge of the Major Crime Investigation Branch Detective Superintendent Des Bray, also announced that investigators believe the little girl could have died up to eight years ago – potentially making her aged 10-12 years if she was alive today.

“While the forensic analysis has not yet provided a conclusive result regarding this child’s gender we are reasonably confident at this time that these are the remains of a girl who had fair hair and was 90-95cm tall,” he said.

A manikin with hair of a similar colour and length, dressed in new versions of items of clothing found with the body was displayed to the media today as Task Force Mallee investigators continue their inquiries into the child’s murder.

Police have received 223 call to Crime Stoppers  (ph 1800 333 000) in relation to the discovery of the remains, near the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region, on Wednesday 15 July.

Clothing and a suitcase – a new version of which was also displayed by police today – were found along with the remains.

Investigators believe the suitcase and its contents – including the child – were left at the location by an unknown person behind a bush and that at some stage someone tipped most of the contents out behind a nearby bush and left the suitcase near the roadside.

While the suitcase now appears a grey colour, it was originally black and has faded.

Dtv-Supt Bray said the suitcase was first seen after road works were concluded in mid-March, but police are keen to hear from anyone who saw it, touched it or emptied its contents.

“We believe the child died elsewhere and was placed into the suitcase before being left at the Wynarka location,” he said.

“For reasons I’m not going to disclose we are confident that this child was murdered and we would appeal for anyone with information that might assist us to make contact.

“This is a tragic case and we continue to follow a number of lines of inquiry in a bid to identify this child.

“At this time 24 children have been nominated as potential victims, but have been ruled out by investigators who have determined that they are alive and not requiring any further police attention.”

Police are still appealing to a man seen in the area about six to eight weeks ago with a dark suitcase to come forward.

Described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed, he was seen by a number of locals in the area and investigators are seeking to identify him and potentially exclude him from the inquiry.

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

Mannequin and case

23 July 2015

Crime Stoppers receive 200 calls regarding Wynarka case

Forensic analysis of human remains found near Wynarka last week have not yet determined the child’s gender, however Task Force Mallee investigators have ruled out 20 children as victims.

SA Police have now had 200 calls to Crime Stoppers (ph: 1800 333 000) in relation to the discovery of the remains of a child, about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region, on Wednesday 15 July.

Major Crime detectives have released images of clothing found along with the child’s remains near the Karoonda Highway.

The clothing, including a purple Dora the Explorer T-shirt, blue pyjama shorts and a pair of pink track pants, were mostly found on the ground near a grey Lanza suitcase.

The suitcase and its contents – including the child – were left at the location by an unknown person behind a bush.

Police believe that at some stage someone tipped most of the contents out behind a nearby bush and left the suitcase near the roadside.

People driving along the road saw the suitcase over time, originally closed and later with the lid open. Some stopped and inspected it.

The suitcase was first discovered shortly after road works were completed in March this year.

“Identifying who emptied the suitcase contents behind the bush and when it was emptied is very important to investigators,” said Detective Superintendent Des Bray, Officer in Charge, Major Crime Investigation Branch.

“The person who did this is not in any trouble and we encourage that person to come forward and contact us through Crime Stoppers or attend their local police station.”

Det Supt Bray also noted that further sightings of a 60-year-old man with the suitcase around the same time have been reported to police.

Earlier police appeals have noted that a man was seen in the area carrying a dark suitcase, about 8am one morning about six to eight weeks ago.

Described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed, he was not a local.

“Identifying this man remains a priority so that he can be excluded if not involved,” Det Supt Bray said.

“Police continue to encourage this man or anyone who knows him to come forward and make contact with us.

“Forensic Science SA have been working very hard to identify the gender of the child and to obtain a DNA profile.

Despite their best efforts they have not been able to achieve that result yet, however they continue to be committed to the task using alternative methods of analysis.

“In the interim we need to be patient and we are actively investigating other lines of inquiry that are enabling us to progress the investigation.”

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online athttps://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

20 July 2015

Forensic analysis of remains continues

Forensic analysis of human remains found near Wynarka last week has not yet determined the gender of the child, however, police have been able to rule out potential victims.

“Forensic Science staff are working very hard to deliver a result as quickly as possible.  We are hoping to be able to confirm the gender of the child this week.  A DNA profile is also being taken of the child, however, that will take longer, ” said Detective Superintendent Des Bray, Officer in Charge, Major Crime Investigation Branch.

Investigators have been assisted by 125 calls to Crime Stoppers since the bones were discovered.  Acting on information received from the public,  ten potential victims have been identified but detectives have been able to exclude them from the investigation.

Major Crime detectives have released images of clothing found along with the child’s remains near the Karoonda Highway at Wynarka last week.

The clothing, including a purple Dora the Explorer T-shirt, blue pyjama shorts and a pair of pink track pants, were found in a grey Lanza suitcase about two kilometres west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region, on Wednesday 15 July.

“The response we have received from the public is encouraging and we urge anyone that recognises any of the clothes to please contact police.

“We believe the child aged between 2 and 5 years was murdered at another location but the motive and the exact time frame is unknown.

“We are also seeking any information about a man seen by several people walking along the Karoonda Highway, carrying a dark suitcase, about 8am 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.”

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

19 July 2015

Further images released of clothing found at Wynarka

Major Crime detectives trying to identify the body of a young child, have released further images of clothing found along with the child’s remains near the Karoonda Highway at Wynarka last week.

The clothing, including a purple Dora the Explorer T-shirt, blue pyjama shorts and a pair of pink track-pants, were found in a suitcase about 2kms west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region, on Wednesday 15 July.

“From 5pm last night police have received nearly 100 calls from the public to Crime Stoppers, which is encouraging and we urge anyone that recognises any of the clothes to please contact police,” said  Detective Superintendent Des Bray, the officer in charge of Major Crime Investigation Branch.
“Forensic Scientists are also working around the clock to help provide vital information to assist in the investigation.”

“We believe the child aged between 2-5 years was murdered at another location but the motive and the exact time frame is unknown” Det-Supt Bray said.

“We are also seeking any information about a man seen by several people walking along the Karoonda Highway, carrying a dark suitcase, about 8am 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 Superintendent Bray Said.

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

Vision taken from the SAPOL Remote piloted aircraft (drone) which flew over the search area on Thursday 16 July, shows the terrain and Karoonda Highway, SES volunteers searching the area, and a large blue tent where the child’s remains were found.

Wynarka child's clothing

Wynarka clothing coat and pink pants

17 July 2015

Images released as police investigate child murder

Major Crime detectives trying to identify the body of young child today released images of clothing and a suitcase found along with the child’s remains near the Karoonda Hwy this week.

The remains, clothing and case were found at Wynarka, about 150km east of Adelaide in the Murray Mallee region, on Wednesday.

Taskforce Mallee has been established with 15 police officers now working on the investigation, along with a significant forensic response.

A post mortem was conducted this morning – but the gender of the child still remains unknown .

Further forensic testing will be required before a gender is known early next week, while a DNA profile may take longer due to the complexities involved in the forensic analysis.

“Police emphasise that while it’s possible that the victim is female, the presence of female clothes should not be taken as confirmation of that, or that the clothes belonged to the child,” Detective Superintendent Des Bray, the officer in charge of Major Crime Investigation Branch, said today.

“We are hoping that someone recognises the clothes and then can help us identify the child.”

Police are renewing their appeal for information that may lead to the identity of a man seen walking along the Karoonda Highway, carrying a dark suitcase, about 8am 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.

Calls to Crime Stoppers have revealed the man was also seen on the highway walking with a suitcase west of Wynarka heading towards Murray Bridge.

Police are also calling on any drivers who may have dash-cam vision of the highway to contact police as they may have inadvertently recorded information in their trucks and cars that may assist with the investigation.

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

Suitcase and clothing

Clothing and case tag

17 July 2015

Detective seek information from public after bones found near Wynarka

Major Crime detectives want to speak to a man seen carrying a suitcase on the Karoonda Highway, near where the remains of a child were found earlier this week.

Late on Wednesday morning, police were contacted by a motorist who discovered human bones near a suitcase just off the highway, about 2 km west of Wynarka in the Murray Mallee region.

Detectives have door-knocked the Wynarka region and appealed to anyone with information to come forward.

Detectives believe the body and suitcase were dumped at the roadside location some time within the last ten weeks.

Police have received information that a man was seen walking along the highway, carrying a dark suitcase, about 8am one morning about six to eight weeks ago.  He is described as aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed.  He was not a local.

Major Crime detectives are awaiting the interim results of a post-mortem to provide more details about the identity, age and gender of the human remains found near Wynarka this week.

Police have established the bones are the skeletal remains of a child.  Initial examinations of the remains have determined they are those of a child aged between 2 and 7 years.  The gender is not known at this stage.

The remains were transported to Adelaide where a post-mortem was undertaken yesterday afternoon.  A more detailed examination of items found with the body will also be conducted.

As part of the investigation, detectives are checking National Missing Persons registers.  There are no current missing persons from South Australia that match this description.

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

The investigation is ongoing.

16 July 2015

Wynarka investigation continues

Major Crime detectives have returned to the Karoonda Highway today following yesterday’s discovery of human remains.

Late on Wednesday morning, police were contacted by a motorist who discovered human bones just off the highway, about 2 km west of Wynarka in the Murray Mallee region.

Police have established the bones are the skeletal remains of a child.  Initial examinations of the remains have determined they are those of a child aged between 2 and 7 years.  The gender is not known at this stage.

The remains have been transported to Adelaide where a post-mortem will be conducted this afternoon.

Forensic examination of the scene is being conducted.  SES volunteers are assisting with a search of the area along the highway today.  The police drone is also being utilised to search from overhead.

Detectives believe the body and suitcase were dumped at the roadside location some time in the last four to six weeks.

As part of the investigation, detectives are checking National Missing Persons registers.  There are no current missing persons from South Australia that match this description.

The investigation is ongoing.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray, Officer in Charge of Major Crime Investigation Branch, spoke with SA Police News yesterday to update the public on the situation and appeal for information.  Listen to his interview here.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

15 July 2015

Human bones found near Wynarka

Police including Major Crime Detectives are investigating the discovery of human bones near the Karoonda Highway about 2kms west of Wynarka in the Murray Mallee region.

Late this morning police were contacted by a member of the public after the bones were found just off the highway.

Police have established the bones are the skeletal remains of a child.

Forensic examination of the scene is currently being conducted.

The investigation is ongoing and further information will be provided as soon as possible.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

SA Police rule out 10 potential victims after child’s remains found

Updated 20 Jul 2015, 3:57pm

Police have discounted 10 potential victims in their search for the identity of a child whose remains were found in bushland near Wynarka in South Australia last week.

The skeletal remains of a child aged between two and five were found behind a bush off the Karoonda Highway on Wednesday last week.

Police believe the remains were originally dumped inside a suitcase found at the location, two kilometres west of Wynarka, up to two-and-a-half months ago.

They said they had received 125 calls from the public, with “10 potential victims identified” but subsequently excluded from the investigation.

A forensic analysis of the human remains has not been able to establish its gender yet but police have already announced the child suffered a “violent, horrible death”.

“Forensic Science staff are working very hard to deliver a result as quickly as possible,” Detective Superintendent Des Bray said.

“We are hoping to be able to confirm the gender of the child this week.

“A DNA profile is also being taken of the child, however, that will take longer.”

Police are still searching for man seeing walking along the Karoonda Highway at Wynarka carrying a dark suitcase about six to eight weeks ago.

He was not a local and is described as being aged about 60, Caucasian, clean cut and neatly dressed with a light build.

Major Crime detectives have released images of clothing found along with the remains, including a purple Dora the Explorer T-shirt, blue pyjama shorts, and a pair of pink tracksuit pants, in the hope a member of public recognised them.

“We believe the child, aged between two and five years, was murdered at another location but the motive and the exact time frame is unknown,” Superintendent Bray said.