Eight-year-old Trinity Bates.
Eight-year-old Trinity Bates. Contributed

Bundaberg shocked by murder

BUNDABERG was in shock yesterday after an eight-year-old girl was found murdered just metres from her family home.

Trinity Bates was believed to have been abducted overnight Sunday during a break-in.

Her parents discovered her missing when they woke up yesterday morning.

Friend Luke Lammi said the anguished family rallied around each other as the tragedy unfolded.

“It looks like she’s been taken out of the bed,” Mr Lammi said.

“It must have happened early in the morning.”

He said it was the girl’s father who discovered she was gone.

“He was getting ready to go to work and she’s usually up by then,” he said.

Neighbour Norm Bradshaw said he saw a woman with a baby in her arms screaming on the street as daylight broke, and did not realise it was his neighbour.

“She said, ‘Norm, (the girl’s) gone’— it wasn’t until then we realised it was (the mother),” he said.

Detective Superintendent Maurice Carless told a press conference yesterday that police were called to the scene at 5.44am after an abduction was reported.

“A crime scene was established at that house and a search was then conducted by uniformed police and the dog squad,” he said.

Trinity's body was found in a drain that runs under Hunter Street, about 50m from her home, by a police officer shortly after the search began.

Dept Supt Carless said early indications were that a break-in had occurred before the girl went missing.

“We’re certainly treating it as a murder,” he added.

Distraught family members gathered outside the wooden home, which was cordoned off with police tape, and officers shut off nearby Hunter Street to conduct forensic investigations.

The girl’s grandmother walked in a line back and forth along the Walker Street footpath, repeatedly raising her hands to her head.

Police also doorknocked businesses and homes in the area and focused forensic investigations on the drain and immediate area.

Buss Street resident Darryl Brown, whose home backs onto the drain, said police officers told him not to go into his backyard.

“There’s just a lot of police presence. Forensics have been there for hours in the drain, then SES turned up and put the tarp down,” he said.

“I’m restricted to the house. (The police) have to go through the back yard yet.”

Other neighbours were also told by police to stay in their homes as the investigation continued and evidence was gathered.

Police were yesterday unable to confirm how the girl died.

Neighbours described their shock and devastation as news of the murder spread.

“I feel heartfelt grief and sorrow. It just affects me deeply knowing that some parents have lost their child,” Mr Brown said.

As the day wore on, homicide investigators and forensic officers from Brisbane turned up in force to examine the scene. They moved the body just after 6.20pm.

The investigation is expected to continue today.

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