The parents of a Queensland man accused of murdering his newborn baby and wife have spoken out for the first time since the tragedy, as hundreds of tributes flow on social media from heartbroken loved ones remembering the "beautiful" and "vivacious" mother and daughter.
Rockhampton man Matthew Cox, 31, was charged with two counts of murder earlier this week after the bodies of his wife, Tayla Cox, 30, and 11-week-old baby daughter, Murphy, were allegedly found at a suburban home yesterday.
Queensland Police were called to the property on Park Avenue just before 11am on Thursday after Mr Cox allegedly self-presented at a Brisbane police station, reporting two dead people at the address.
Family in 'absolute state of shock'
Mr Cox's gutted parents, Denis and Linda, issued a public statement on Friday, detailing their utter horror and "shock", after hearing of the deaths of their granddaughter and daughter-in-law.
“The family are devastated by the news today that we have not only lost a beautiful daughter-in-law Tayla but also our much loved granddaughter Murphy,” the couple said.
“At this stage we have very few other details and are in an absolute state of shock. We ask that the media respect our privacy while we grieve and try and process what has occurred.”
There was no mention of their son or the charges he is facing.
The statement comes amid an outpouring of grief on social media that's seen loved ones, locals, those who knew the family, and distressed onlookers sharing tributes. Many have pointed to the fact that Ms Cox's alleged murder marks the 43rd death of a woman this year, allegedly at the hands of a man. Ms Cox is the fourth Australian woman allegedly murdered in just the last week. Murphy, the 11th child allegedly murdered in 2023.
Tributes flow for Tayla Cox and daughter Murphy
Ms Cox's former high school, Saint Ursula's College in Yeppoon, remembered her "vivacious spirit".
"The College Community is incredibly saddened to learn of the death of past student, Tayla Cox (née Black), and her infant daughter, Murphy," the college wrote on Facebook.
"Tayla is fondly remembered for her vivacious spirit and positive attitude.
"During her time at the College, Tayla was a beacon of hope, joy, and love, and had such a positive impact on others in the broader community.
"Tayla was a competent, capable young woman who embraced opportunities with joy and enthusiasm. We extend our thoughts and prayers to Tayla and Murphy’s family and friends." She was a member of the graduating class of 2010.
On Ms Cox's personal Facebook page, dozens had flocked to remember the young mum. Ms Cox herself had just recently posted a family portrait of the couple while still pregnant, captioned: "We can't wait to meet you". A line on her personal biography reads: "Always be kind".
"Rest in paradise Tayla and precious baby Murphy. Taken way too soon," Jess Alberts said.
"Totally devastating that these beautiful souls have been taken so soon. I can’t imagine the profound grief the family members are going through..." a user by the name of Kitty wrote.
A friend of the family Naomi Goldman remembered Ms Cox from childhood.
"To the beautiful Black family, I’m so sorry for your loss," Ms Goldman wrote.
"Her laugh was contagious, she really was such a bright light. Always so happy and bubbly. We’re so sorry Tayla, baby Murphy and her family," Hollie Victoria wrote.
"Rest easy Tayla and baby Murphy," Hannah Elizabeth wrote.
Mr Cox has been charged with two counts of murder. He did not apply for bail when apprehended.
The matter has been adjourned to August 21 for committal mention in Brisbane Magistrates Court. Police have alleged they were met with a very "confronting scene" on discovering the bodies.
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