The family of a nine-month-old baby girl whose body washed ashore on a Gold Coast beach “sacrificed” the child across the border in NSW, police in Queensland believe.
Sources familiar with the investigation into the death have told AAP the family of four were tracked on CCTV travelling from the Gold Coast to the Jack Evans Boat Harbour in NSW on Saturday.
It’s alleged the naked baby girl was thrown into the harbour and her empty pram left alongside the waterway.
Queensland police then captured images of the now trio catching a bus at Coolangatta and returning to Queensland, sources said.
The baby’s body is believed to have drifted in the current for two days before washing ashore at a Surfers Paradise beach where she was found by passers-by at around 12.30am on Monday.
Queensland Police confirmed in a statement on Tuesday night that it had been established the baby’s death occurred in NSW but gave no further details.
On Wednesday, NSW Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Walpole told reporters in Tweed Heads police were using divers in the Tweed River and the Jack Evans Boat Harbour.
“Clearly the child was located in the water up at Surfers Paradise,” he said.
“We want to know how the child got there. We are looking for evidence that could assist us.”
The family were familiar with the area, locals say.
Tweed Heads watersport business owner Trev Arbon saw the family in the park on-and-off throughout the last week.
“It was all really strange seeing them walk around because they had the little babies with them,” he told AAP on Wednesday.
“It’s just a tragedy for that beautiful baby – really sad.”
Mr Arbon said the family wasn’t from the area and kept to themselves – even when others reached out to offer them money for groceries and disposable nappies for the two children.
The father will face an extradition hearing in Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday and is expected to be charged by police upon his successful return to NSW.
Police sources in Queensland allege the mother admitted to knowing about the planned “sacrifice” – as it has been described to AAP – but only the father would be accused of throwing her into the water.
It’s believed the girl’s 23-year-old mother will not face charges, has been released from custody and has been placed in the mental health system in Queensland.
Queensland police detectives have been “deeply distressed” by the circumstance of the child’s death, the sources said.