Stepmum says little Willow wasn’t her responsibility
THE partner of a man charged with the murder of his four-year-old Down syndrome daughter reportedly told police Willow was not her biological child so she refused to care for her, amid allegations the little girl died in filth, was malnourished, neglected and covered in sores.
Police are investigating whether Willow lived much of her four short years in neglect, left in her room without adequate food or care.
The Courier-Mail understands the Department of Child Safety had been notified of concerns about Willow's welfare on more than one occasion - although Child Safety Minister Di Farmer has refused to confirm if the family was known to them.
Her stepmother, who lived at the Cannon Hill home with her own children, has not been charged in relation to Willow's death.
It is understood Willow's biological mother died after complications during birth and her stepmother allegedly told officers she wanted nothing to do with the girl.
Sources said Willow had not been seen alive for around two weeks, although her father allegedly told police he discovered her dead on Saturday - two days before calling an ambulance.
She was still wearing nappies that were rarely changed, despite her age.
Willow is understood to have been left in her cot so long she developed painful pressure sores so deep the bones of her hips were exposed.
The Courier-Mail understands Willow was showing signs of infection at the time of her death, began looking unwell several weeks before she died and had not been gaining weight.
Relatives allegedly said Willow appeared sick years earlier.
Neighbours told The Courier-Mail they had never seen the young girl at the Bent St home.
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer yesterday refused, for the second day in a row, to answer questions about whether the family were known to the Department of Child Safety.
Instead, a spokesman from the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women said they were "guided by the Child Protection Act which has as its paramount principle the protection of children - which includes their identity".
"The strict provisions of this Act make it illegal to disclose publicly whether an individual or family is known or not known to the department," he said.
LNP police spokesman Dan Purdie said the Minister's silence was a "cover up".
"The Minister and the Premier seem to be more concerned about protecting themselves than protecting vulnerable young kids in our community," he said.
Willow's father, Mark James Dunn, 43, has been charged with the girl's murder after he allegedly told officers he found the four-year-old dead in her room on Saturday, but did not get medical help.
Dunn was charged under the new extended definition of murder, which includes reckless indifference to human life.
He has been remanded in custody and will return to court on July 20.
Originally published as Stepmum says little Willow wasn't her responsibility