Skeleton found in suitcase by roadside likely little girl murdered eight years ago
Published 24/07/2015 | 13:32
A little girl is believed to be the murder victim whose remains were dumped in a suitcase in the South Australian bush.
Police found the skeletal remains of the child, believed to aged between two and four, along with a suitcase and several items of clothing by the side of the Karoonda Highway, east of Adelaide on July 14.
South Australian detectives said they now believe the remains date back at least eight years.
Superintendent Des Bray today showed a mannequin of a young girl, with light-coloured hair and wearing a dark leotard and black, sheer skirt, similar to what the child was found wearing, to the media as part of an appeal for information.
He said the girl could have died some years ago as the clothing she was found with, including a black tutu, a pink shoe, a "Dora the Explorer" purple top and red sports shorts, dated as far back at 2007.
“We want people to think back into the past, look at that little girl, someone must remember that suit - it’s a very distinctive set of clothes,” he said.
“Unfortunately we do not have a definite gender from a forensic point of view of DNA profile, the degradation of the skeletal remains has made this very difficult.
"[However] we are reasonably confident at this time that these are the remains of a girl who had fair hair and was 90-95cm tall," Det Bray said.
Police said they have received 223 calls to Crime Stoppers since a driver found the remains near Wynarka, in the state's south east, on July 15.
The girl's identity is not known and a man aged about 60 seen carrying a suitcase in the area some weeks ago is being sought by police, Detective Superintendent Des Bray said, adding in a statement that "for reasons I'm not going to disclose we are confident that this child was murdered".
Police believe the suitcase and its contents, including the child, were left at the location behind a bush.
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.
"We believe the child died elsewhere and was placed into the suitcase before being left at the Wynarka location," Det Bray said.
Police want to talk to a neatly dressed man, aged about 60, who was seen in the area about six to eight weeks ago with a dark suitcase.