New twist emerges in schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer’s murder case

Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster family isn’t very nice. First Rick Thorburn, 56, was charged with the Queensland schoolgirl’s murder, now it

Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster family isn’t very nice. First Rick Thorburn, 56, was charged with the Queensland schoolgirl’s murder, now it has been revealed that his 19-year-old son Trent has sexually assaulted Tiahleigh prior to her death.

Trent Thorburn has been accused of having an illegal sexual relationship with the 12-year-old while Tiahleigh had been living in the Thorburn’s care during 10 months of 2015.

He has now been charged with incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice over Tiahleigh’s death — 11 months after her body was discovered dumped near a Brisbane river.

The Courier Mail has reported that it will be alleged Rick Thorburn murdered Tiahleigh to protect his son Trent after he discovered the boy was sexually abusing her.

Police will allege that Rick Thorburn feared his son would be convicted under the Queensland Criminal Code that states a sexual relationship between siblings — including foster, step or de facto circumstances — is considered incest, which can attract a life sentence.

Thorburn’s wife Julene, 54, and his other son Josh, aged 20, have also faced police questioning and each of the family members have been charged in relation to Taihleigh’s murder.

Despite the arrests, Detective Inspector Damien Hansen says the case is not over.

“There’s a lot of work to go on with yet,” he told The Courier Mail.

There have been calls for an investigation into Queensland’s foster care system in the wake of the charges over Tiahleigh’s death, but Foster Care Queensland has defended the system saying it has stringent checks in place.

“We have one of the most in-depth and stringent arrangements around the approval of foster carers in Australia,” Foster Care Queensland executive director Bryan Smith says.

“If there are carers we believe shouldn’t be in the system, we are one of the first to say we will support them out of the system if identified.”

However, Queensland opposition leader Tim Nicholls says the Tiahleigh case highlights a need for investigation into the state’s foster care system.

What do you think? How does this story make you feel?

  1. Chris  

    I am asking because of a genuine lack of knowledge on the subject – why, if this poor girl had a Mother – did she have to be paced in foster care, and more than once it seems. Did Tiahleigh come from an abusive home or mother and/or father alcoholics or on drugs? I really dont understand these sort of situations. Would Tiahleigh still be alive if she never went into foster care? The story is just gut wrenching……….

    • Very very sad n gut wrenching n this sort of thing seems to be happening more n more n I hope they throw them all in jail n leave them to rot..Can imagine just how the poor young girl would of felt in her last moments ………

    • Exactly! I was asking myself the same questions. Just what is going on here? I am aware there are some really deadbeat parents out there, I mean REALLY deadbeat. However, as this is now a very public reported tragic tragedy, I am sure the answers will eventually come out.

      • Rae Trees  

        Google Tiahleigh Palmer murder: Mother Cindy Palmer makes public appeal › News › Queensland

        This gives a bit of an insight into the family,hope it helps.

    • Jocelyn  

      Children get placed because there is bad stuff going in their home/family life. They are not placed in foster care without much consideration before doing so. I have fostered my great nephew for six months here in NZ so I am up with what it takes to be a foster parent. However if a person has no convictions and can say and do the right things to impress the system in place, then they will be given the child/children. Many people do bad stuff, but no one knows until it is brought to someone’s attention. So these people can still be bad people.

    • Bernie  

      I believe she would have still been alive if she were NOT in foster care.

    • Judy  

      She also had a grandmother as well as all the other relos now turning up !!!!
      It’s a shame that she couldn’t / didn’t confide in an adult / friend / teacher about the situation.
      I think there is more to this than what we are being told.

      • Marjorie  

        Yes, Judy, precisely, & it’ll all be revealed in the very sad Court Cases’, to come……………

  2. Sheryl Parker  

    Any murder of a child is sickening, add to this it being perpetrated by a supposed “person of trust” as appointed by Childrens services makes the whole thing completely gut wrenching. It doesn’t matter the circumstances of why she was in a foster home, only the parents know the reasons which could be many and varied. The fact is a family of foster carers murdered a young girl and tried to cover this horrendous crime up. Not only was murder committed, it seems that her foster brother was also breaking the trust of this young girl by interfering with her. I really hope these people have the book thrown at them. Lock them up and throw away the key., they do not deserve to be in society when they can act this way.

  3. Christine Rae  

    doesnt really matter what the foster care services sprook about stringent CLEARLY does not work…these kids have usually been through enough without being thrown to the wolves as in this case… why would we waste millions on a friggen vote over marriage equality that we already know the government have said is not binding… when the money could be used constructively for something like this … because if asked they will say we cant do any more there is no funding…well they can have my share of the plebiscite millions

    • Lauris Drummond  

      That little girl would still be alive if they did a better check on Foster Carers, they should hang their heads in shame.

    • michelle white  

      i agree with all the above these foster children must be taught to be able to speak up and LISTENED to to save there own minds i know how it is to be abused and not heard if you survive you live with it all your life .children in this dilemma must be in continuous contact with a trustworthy soul if that is at all possible

    • Es Berkelmans  

      I so agree ! don’t understand why she was in a house with all male siblings in the first place poor little girl my heart bleeds for her and what those so call foster family done to her ,she wouldn’t want to have been mine because I would have child protections guts for garters

    • Lyn  

      Surely they do regular checks on the foster parents and interview the foster children to check that they are settling in OK and are being treated well and are encouraged to speak up if things are not Ok for them.

  4. Bob  

    Reads/sounds like that this poor Lassie has had a terrifying life for the last months of her life, and I am appalled that this could happen. One lives in the hope that all those involved are effectively given the same sentence they gave her.

    • Ma  

      ‘Lassie’? ……..sure you didn’t mean ‘lassie’? Or did auto-spellcheck strike again? ……..

    • Ma  

      ‘Lassie’? ……..sure you didn’t mean ‘lassie’? Or did auto-spellcheck strike again? ……..

  5. Mik  

    Don’t you worry folks. It may be too late for the poor girl but justice comes in various forms. The monster brother will be gladly made aquantance with other inmates and will get a taste of his own medicine. Selfish prick would of told his parents what he did so the whole family conspired in her murder and tried to cover it up. Why are they not charged with conspiracy??? Throw the book at all of em including the wranga mum and barstard unwanted foster child. The media frenzy will ensure the rapist son will be sentenced to prison. Anything else is just not acceptable. Daddy already taken the decision that life is not worth continuing – I’ll take that as a admission of guilt. How dispicable the Ma and foster bro were also in on the cover up. I hope the relevant gov services are held to account. Police should of been right onto it after they failed to report the girl missing. If that not not a red flag I don’t know what is.

    • Lyn  

      Totally agree!! Disgusting behaviour by Foster Family. may they all rot in hell. KARMA KARMA!!!!

    • Michaela  

      Yes, Mik, you’re right!
      Let’s hope our ‘justice’ system doesn’t let Tiahleigh down.

      They ALL should be in goal, for ‘the term of their natural lives’.

      What a despicable set of supposed ‘caring’ humans’.

  6. Ann  

    It makes me feel sick & angry that this is happening!

  7. Ann  

    It makes me feel sick & angry that this is happening!

  8. This is the most sickening case I have heard of but is probably just the tip of the iceberg? Why was this lovely little girl in foster care in the first place ? Kids like that would be safer with people that represent grandparents that have no ulterior motives but love & genuine care for them !

  9. Sue R  

    Don’t blame the system and all foster carers over one case, this is absolutely shocking and so very very sad, but it is rare, I don’t ever recall hearing about a child in care being murdered by their carers. I don’t doubt there have been issues with abuse of sorts over the years but if you look at how many children are in care and how many carers there are, then look at the percentages of abuse you will find it is small. Most carers are wonderful people who go above and beyond to give these kids a loving home. One only has to look back at the case of little Mason Jett Lee to see why some of these children are put into care, the government is dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t. Sadly there is no perfect solution, lets just hope and pray this doesn’t happen again.

  10. Ann Lovegrove  

    And we call this child protection. What is wrong with our system that protects the wrong people.

  11. It is not just foster children at risk unfortunately as we live in an evil world.

    I always thought that a trustworthy couple should be appointed as ‘guardian angels’ to watch over one foster/adopted child with the one time use power to remove a child from a situation. They in time would be as extra grand parents to the child and it may benefit them all. Someone to care for and to care about in return.

    Recently a 10 year old girl was drugged by her mother with meth in the USA.
    They (the mother and 2 male friends) then proceeded to rape her, followed by murdering her and attempting to dismember the body.
    Her name was Victoria Martens.

    We are shamed to be called human being and only God knows why He would love us. We surely don’t deserve it.

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