Friday 30 September 2016

Man charged with murder of mum and little girl whose body was mysteriously dumped in a suitcase

Published 15/12/2015 | 06:22

The remains of Khandalyce Kiara Pearce near a remote town in the state of South Australia
The remains of Khandalyce Kiara Pearce near a remote town in the state of South Australia
Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson
The suitcase in which the child's remains were discovered

A man accused of killing a woman whose bones were found in an Australian forest has been charged with the murder of her two-year-old daughter, whose body was discovered in a suitcase 750 miles away.

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Daniel Holdom, 41, is said to have murdered little Khandalyce Pearce, whose body was found on the side of a road in South Australia earlier this year.

The suitcase in which the child's remains were discovered
The suitcase in which the child's remains were discovered

The charge comes two months after Holdom was accused of the murder of Khandalyce's mother, Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson, 20, and seven years after police say the pair were killed at different times and in different locations.

Superintendent Mick Willing of New South Wales Police said investigators believe Holdom killed the little girl days after murdering her mother. Both suffered "violent deaths", he said.

Holdom, who has been in jail since the charges related to Ms Pearce-Stevenson were filed, did not appear at a brief court hearing in Sydney and was refused bail.

Single mother Ms Pearce-Stevenson's bones were found in 2010 in the Belanglo State Forest, about 90 miles south of Sydney. Khandalyce's body was discovered in July after a driver spotted the suitcase dumped on the side of a highway near the small South Australia town of Wynarka.

Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson
Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson

The identities of both bodies had long stumped police until they received a tip on a crime prevention hotline in October. The caller suggested the girl in the suitcase might be Khandalyce, who left with her mother from their Outback home town of Alice Springs in 2008 to travel.

DNA tests confirmed the remains were indeed Khandalyce's and police then used blood samples from the medical records of Ms Pearce-Stevenson to identify her remains.

Holdom was arrested a week later and charged with Ms Pearce-Stevenson's murder.

Police have previously said that fraudsters used Ms Pearce-Stevenson's mobile phone for three years after her death to make family and friends believe she was still alive.

They allegedly convinced Ms Pearce-Stevenson's mother to deposit money into her bank account, which continued to receive government benefits.

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