Police have charged the stepmother of Willow Dunn, who was allegedly left to die with little to no food, with murder,
Shannon White has been taken into police custody and is expected to face court today.
The four-year-old’s father, Mark Dunn, has already been charged with murder.
Detectives are working with police in NSW and South Australia as part of the investigation.
Detective Inspector Chris Ahern said they were investigating all aspects of Willow’s care, health and treatment in the days, weeks and years leading up to her death.
“We know that members of Willow’s family relocated from Adelaide to Brisbane in 2017 and we believe that there is value in identifying potential witnesses in South Australia,” he told media this morning.
“We continue to obtain information from witnesses who are assisting police to build a clearer picture of the dynamics relating to Willow Dunn’s family.”
He said the investigative team were not yet satisfied they had exhausted all inquiries.
Detective Inspector Ahern said the “extremely confronting” scene police were presented with had provided “incredible motivation” in the investigation.
“It sets the tone and drives the investigators to get best and fairest outcome we possibly can because essentially Willow no longer has that voice,” he said.
Willow’s body was discovered by police inside a house in the Brisbane suburb of Cannon Hill last week.
Police allege Willow, who had Down syndrome, died on the Saturday beforehand and lay dead for two days before paramedics were called.
She was allegedly left to starve in a filthy bed in a bedroom. Her body had been attacked by vermin.
A post-mortem examination revealed Willow was “experiencing serious malnourishment, along with many other health concerns that supported sustained mistreatment”.
Neighbours of the family told the The Sunday Mail they never knew Willow existed.
Willow’s biological mother, Naomi Dunn, died suddenly just days after giving birth due to complications.
Ms White was the woman’s “best friend” of 20 years, The Australian reported, and was bridesmaid at her wedding in 2014.
She and Willow’s father began dating after the sudden death, but the newspaper reports Ms White didn’t play a role in parenting the girl.
Queensland’s Child Safety Minister Di Farmer ordered an independent investigation into Willow’s death, as well as a separate horrifying case last week involving the neglect of two disabled teenage brothers who were found living in a locked bedroom in a squalid home in Brisbane.
Dunn will appear before a court on July 20.