Dad’s ‘sob story’ before horror baby murder suicide
THE father who allegedly killed his baby in a murder-suicide was reportedly caught driving over the alcohol limit on the night the six-month-old went missing - but was let off by police.
He was stopped for speeding and returned a low to mid-range blood alcohol level, but was given an infringement notice instead of being arrested after telling the officer a "sob story", a police source told Nine News.
The Queensland police officer - who is said to be "distraught" after learning of the deaths - reportedly searched the back of the car with a torch, but did not see a child.
The stop took place not far from where the two bodies were found in a red Holden Commodore, parked at a remote Queensland campsite on Wednesday morning.
William's mother reported her son missing to police on Monday after his father, 46, failed to return her son as-per a court-ordered shared custody arrangement.
But police did not issue an Amber Alert, or child abduction emergency broadcast to facilitate a search and recovery of a high risk missing child.
Queensland Police said there was not enough evidence for an alert to be issued.
The boy lived with his mother in the bayside Brisbane suburb of Redcliffe, 60km from where his body was found in the Beerburrum State Forest, 80km north of Brisbane.
Detective Inspector Dave Drinnen said the lack of an Amber Alert "will be looked into", and that the child's mother and father separated after "domestic violence incidents".
Police said the father was a known domestic violence offender and that a "high risk" missing person investigation was launched when it became clear he had disappeared with the baby.
"It's extremely distressing, a very tragic incident," said Det Insp Drinnen. "The mother was extremely distraught, as you can well imagine."
News.com.au put question to Queensland Police, who would not comment, but they did say they were likely to provide more information today.
News of the father being stopped by police came amid an outpouring of grief and anger as family members said the system had let down William and his mother.
"This should never have happened!" wrote relative Katie Buckingham on a GoFundMe page she set up for the bereaved mother. "The courts have let her down and not kept the baby's father away from her son! Now this beautiful and innocent baby boy has been taken from her by the man who did nothing but make her life hell."
She called the deaths a "horrific tragedy" and "the saddest day for everyone involved", adding: "I wish I could take it all away, the pain … everything. But I can't."
Janyce Lynch posted on the group that she was "overwhelmed by sadness" and could not begin to imagine how lost and devastated the boy's mother must be. "It's just absolutely heartbreaking," she said. "I have a 18 month boy on my own and even though I have a protection order put in place, it does not prevent the same tragedy from happening.
"Let us all pray and do what we can to change the laws so there will be really protection and no more of these senseless acts."
Oli Caz added: "Rip William, you and your Mum were let down by Australia's pathetic legal system."
Tanea Saul called it "a cruel, manipulative, indefensible and selfish act" while others said the family court had let the mother and baby down - with a man named Ian blaming the lack of mediation before orders are issued.
"My heart goes out to mum and family," wrote Rachael Kovacs. "No mother should have to go through this especially fighting a battle and the system lets you down!!"
Council workers made the grisly discovery as they walked down a track off Roys Road camping ground, in bushland at Coochin Creek in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
"It was absolutely horrific," said Det Insp Drinnen. "A six-month-old child deceased with the father and they'd obviously been there for some time … it's a very tragic event and places a lot of pressure on our first responders.
"This is part of the job … we have to go to and we'll be ensuring our own people get the support as well."
Det Insp Drinnen said that despite police not sending out an Amber Alert for William, his case was still treated as a high risk missing child investigation.
"The mere fact we had a custody incident where a child is missing with the father … where there is a threat or harm to that child, that is when we raise the alert," he said.
The investigation will now be handled by the Sunshine Coast Child Protection Unit.
In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, Queensland Police said the two bodies are yet to be formally identified.
"At this stage, detectives are treating the death of the child as suspicious and the man's death as non-suspicious," police said.
Police were unable to confirm how the two died and a post-mortem will be undertaken.
No weapons were found inside the car.
If you or anyone you know needs assistance, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you or someone you know is impacted by family or domestic violence, call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732). In an emergency, call triple-0.