Child safety service not told Tiahleigh Palmer's foster father was 'person of interest' for months

Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster father and accused killer Rick Thorburn was permitted to run a daycare business for five months after the schoolgirl’s death despite being a person of interest in the investigation, it has been revealed.

Queensland’s Department of Child Safety and Education were not notified that Thorburn was a person of interest in the case until April 2016, and the 56-year-old held a blue card until then, The Courier Mail reports.

Tiahleigh, 12, disappeared on October 30 when Thorburn claimed he dropped her off at school and she failed to come home.

Tiahleigh's remains were found on a riverbank in November 2015.
Tiahleigh's remains were found on a riverbank in November 2015.


Her body was discovered five days later, washed up on the bank of the Pimpama River.

Police told News Corp last week that Thorburn was a person of interest “from day one”, however the child safety authority was not notified until April, Minister for Child Safety Shannon Fentiman confirmed.

Rick Thorburn has been charged over Tiahleigh's murder. Photo: Supplied.
Rick Thorburn has been charged over Tiahleigh's murder. Photo: Supplied.

The department was told the Logan man was also facing allegations relating to an 11-year-old girl and four-year-old girl, the Courier Mail reported.

"In April, police notified my department and the Department of Education and Training of alleged criminal activity. This was the first time that concerns were raised about the Thorburns,” Ms Fentiman said last week.

Thorburn was charged over Tiahleigh’s murder and taken into custody on September 20, six weeks before the one-year anniversary of her disappearance.

Trent Thorburn was reportedly bashed twice in prison since his arrest. Photo: Supplied.
Trent Thorburn was reportedly bashed twice in prison since his arrest. Photo: Supplied.

His son and Tiahleigh’s foster brother Trent Thorburn is also in custody accused of having an incestual relationship with the girl in their Chambers Flat home.

The 19-year-old dancer has reportedly been bashed twice by fellow inmates since being held in the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.

The Queensland Government ordered a review into the foster care system and blue card services the day after the arrests.

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