Foster father charged with murder of Queensland schoolgirl in his care 8



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You might remember the tragic disappearance of Queensland schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer last year?

The 12-year-old’s body was found in November, almost a week after she vanished.

Well, police could be closer to solving the case – and their investigations have led to Tiahleigh’s foster family.

Her foster parents Rick and Julene Thorburn were arrested this morning.

Rick was later charged with her murder.

The ABC is reporting that Thorburn will appear in court tomorrow.

Along with the couple, two men aged 19 and 20 were also arrested – and are reportedly related to the Thorburns.

So how did this investigation lead to the Thorburns?

Well it turns out a car police believed was linked Tiahleigh’s murder actually once belonged to her foster father.

The blue 2009 model Ford XR6 was seized and searched by police last week.

Detective Inspector Damien Hansen told the ABC the investigation had moved quickly in the past 24 hours.

“Due to certain factors we’ve moved quicker than than we possibly would have wanted to,” he said.

“We’ve looked at every person who had involvement with Tiah in this investigation.”

You might be wondering what they found in the car?

Well, police are keeping tight lipped about the car – stating it was still being examined.

Det Insp Hansen also spoke about Tiahleigh’s biological mum’s response to the news, describing Tiahleigh’s murder as “one of the most difficult investigations” he’s been involved.


“She’s comfortable with our response at this stage,” he said.

“But I will take the opportunity to say that also with the family that there are certain times we can’t pass on information, when the information is at a critical stage.”

No doubt this investigation will lead to more information coming to light about the foster family and their alleged involvement in Tiahleigh’s death.

What do you think? Do these arrests raise questions for you about who is caring for children in the foster system?

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  1. Yes it does to many foster for the money ,there should be more checks on them poor little girl

  2. Yes it does to many foster for the money ,there should be more checks on them poor little girl

  3. how big a check is done on foster parents

    1 REPLY
    • In WA – to foster, even your own grandchildren is the most invasive, comprehensive background check you could ever imagine. More kids are killed by their real parents than by foster parents, and I will lay any odds you like that 99% of foster parents are NOT in it for the money.

  4. It’s so sad, in two ways, firstly the death of the little girl and second all the criticism of all foster parents. I know some fabulous, dedicated, loving f/parents,. Sadly there are a few bad apples that ruin it for everyone, the same as biological parents. Unfortunately all the checks in the world will never weed out all the evil people out there.

    2 REPLY
    • You are so right Julie,i volunteer fot The Pyjama Foundation and the carers I work with are the most loving and giving couple . The few sleezebags that make it through the system muddy the waters for the wonderful ones who do all the right things by their kids in care.

    • I totally agree Julie, I know some wonderful foster parents, & let me say what they are paid hardley covers the cost of fostering a child. There are some very bad people out there be they foster parents or not how do you tell until something horrid hapens. So all the comments of checks on foster parents it is obvious you have never seen the hoops they jump through. God Belss this young girl who has suffered at the hands of unscrupulous wicked people.

  5. sadly all too frequent – consanguinity (same blood/genetics) tends to bring out the protective hormones – lacking that (step parents) tends to care less and be more destructive

    in the jungle I believe it’s common for new lions to seek to kill the previous offspring of the females – to induce fertility to produce new offspring – of the new lion – and remove competition from non-related offspring

    so – I understand police investigations of murders – tend to start with the family members – as the most likely to commit crimes of passion – from living close to someone you either care for – or don’t.

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