'Horrific': The details that led police to girl's body in a barrel

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·Associate News Editor
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The human remains found in a barrel northwest of Sydney are consistent with a missing nine-year-old girl who vanished from the Blue Mountains last week, police have confirmed.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb told reporters on Wednesday "there is still a lot to determine", with investigations into the girl's death ongoing.

A 31-year-old male has been charged with murder following the discovery of the body in the vicinity of the Colo River.

He was refused bail at a court appearance on Wednesday, and will front Penrith Local Court in March.

The suspect was arrested at a Surry Hills unit about 8.30pm on Tuesday.

Deputy Police Commissioner David Hudson said there were a number of inconsistencies in the suspect's accounts during interview, with "certain special behaviour" escalating police's interest in the individual.

Police Commissioner Karen Webb said investigations into how the nine-year-old girl was killed are ongoing. Source: ABC
Police Commissioner Karen Webb said investigations into how the nine-year-old girl was killed are ongoing. Source: ABC

He said a number of phone calls to the girl's mother, as well as the alleged purchase of several 20kg sandbags from a hardware store, and attempts to float a boat at an inner Sydney dock led police to suspect his alleged involvement in her disappearance.

The suspect was tracked via GPS and CCTV throughout their investigations, Deputy Commissioner Hudson said.

Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the developments overnight are "horrific" and "shocking".

Police say early evidence indicates the suspect acted alone however investigations are ongoing.

"Things will unravel over the next week or so to find a cause of death, the purpose for a death, and try and identify exactly what happened so that the remaining family have some comfort in that," Deputy Commissioner Hudson said.

NSW Police have charged a man with murder following the discovery of a body consistent with a missing nine-year-old girl. Source: Yahoo News/ Google Maps
NSW Police have charged a man with murder following the discovery of a body consistent with a missing nine-year-old girl. Source: Yahoo News/ Google Maps

According to court documents the girl - who can no longer be named for legal reasons - was murdered between 7pm on January 11, and 10am on January 12 at Mount Wilson, days before she was reported missing, AAP reported.

On Wednesday, the girl's school paid tribute to the student, saying she was a "much loved member" of their community who "brightened all our days, every day".

The girl's mother has yet to be interviewed by police after suffering a medical episode on Friday.

The girl was visiting from Queensland, where she lives with her grandmother.

A coroner will now determine the girl's cause of death.

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