Four-year-old Willow Dunn was experiencing “serious malnourishment”, along with many other health concerns, at the time of her death, Queensland Police have confirmed. Police say this indicates she suffered “sustained mistreatment” prior to her death.
Willow’s body was discovered at a rented property in the suburb of Cannon Hill on Monday and her father Mark James Dunn, 43, was charged with murder that evening. Queensland Police were called to the property in Bent Street at around 9.20am on May 25. A crime scene was immediately declared as investigations into the girl’s death commenced.
Addressing reporters on Friday afternoon, Acting Detective Inspector Chris Knight confirmed that a post mortem examination had been carried out on Wednesday, but would not release details of the other health concerns that Willow had been suffering from at the time of her death. Knight also did not confirm the exact date of Willow’s death, but stated that it appears she died in the day, or days, prior to her body being discovered.
Queensland Police’s Homicide Unit, along with other specialist units, are now working with detectives from the local Morningside beat to investigate “all aspects of Willow’s life – being her care, her health and treatment in the days, weeks, months and years leading up to her death”.
Knight also addressed the “extremely confronting” and “traumatic” scene that members of the police force and Queensland Ambulance Service were faced with when they attended the address in the Brisbane suburb of Cannon Hill on the morning of May 25. While he refused to divulge the details of what exactly emergency responders were confronted with, he added that it would “stay with them for many years”.
“In my experience ambulance officers and police are fairly resilient people,” Knight added. “I can assure you in my experience, and my contact with the individuals involved, they were confronted with a scene that will stay with them for many years.
“Like any child that loses their life in an untimely way it is confronting to everybody. Every parent can’t help but draw comparisons and we’re no different to anyone else.”
Queensland Police are now urging members of the public who may have any information about Willow’s family and extended family to come forward, adding that the investigation is focusing on the “family dynamics”.
“This is a family who have neighbours, friends and family,” Knight added. “We’re interested in the family dynamics … but primarily the care responsibilities, who had responsibility over Willow and her siblings. That’s very important.”
He also confirmed that police have spoken to all persons – adult and children – who were living in the rented property at 20 Bent Street, as multiple reports published by other media outlets have suggested that Willow’s step-mother and adult step-sister may have been living at that address. However the police would not confirm these details.
Knight said on Friday: “Our investigation will continue until detectives are satisfied that we’ve exhausted all options to make a thorough evaluation and decide whether any other culpability exists for any other people.”
Dunn’s case was briefly heard in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday. The case was adjourned and he is set to appear in the same court on July 20. The crime scene in Cannon Hill remains under police guard.
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