Police divers looking for evidence at Jack Evans boat harbour. (AAP image, John Gass)
Police divers looking for evidence at Jack Evans boat harbour. (AAP image, John Gass)

'DISTURBING': Twist in death of baby found naked on beach

AN investigation into the death of a baby girl on a Queensland beach has taken a surprise twist as horrific new details emerge about the heartbreaking case.

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.

It's believed the tiny girl was swept 30km north in the ocean before her lifeless body was found lying in the sand at the edge of the water on Surfers Paradise beach in a tragic discovery by a passer-by in the early hours of Monday morning.

It means NSW detectives will travel to Queensland today to seek the extradition of a 47-year-old man as part of the investigation into the death of the baby girl.

 

It is anticipated he will return to NSW where he will be charged with a warrant.

The twist comes as distressing new details about the girl's family life have been revealed.

The girl's father told police he believed the baby was possessed by demons, Seven News reported last night.

And, a friend of the parents has told the Daily Mail that the couple were more than happy to leave their child in the care of strangers.

"He (the father) put the baby in my arms and started walking away," Kirsty Davis said. "I said, 'Are you coming back for the baby?' and he just looked at me, gave me a blank look and just kept walking on."

About 12.30am on Monday, Queensland Police were called to Staghorn Avenue and the Esplanade, Surfers Paradise, after the girl was found unresponsive.

She was assessed by paramedics, but died at the scene.

Divers have been scouring waters south of the Gold Coast in the hope of turning up clues as to the death of the little girl.

Police divers looking for evidence at Jack Evans boat harbour on the Tweed River. Picture: AAP image, John Gass
Police divers looking for evidence at Jack Evans boat harbour on the Tweed River. Picture: AAP image, John Gass

Specialist officers were seen entering Jack Evans Boat Harbour at Tweed Heads, NSW, on Tuesday. The child's family, who were homeless, had lived for a time in Kingscliff, just inside NSW.

Queensland Police said they would continue to assist their southern counterparts after establishing the death occurred south of Coolangatta.

 

GOLD COAST REACTS

On Tuesday, several Gold Coast residents said they tried months ago to get help for the baby girl whose family often slept in local parks from Tweed Heads to Surfers Paradise.

The tragic death has exposed a massive homelessness problem beneath the glitz of the city skyline and furious locals are asking how this could have happened.

At least two locals say they contacted police and other authorities about the family, which had been sleeping rough near the beach where the nine-month-old was found dead.

The former Gold Coast home of the nine-month-old baby girl found dead in the surf at Surfers Paradise.
The former Gold Coast home of the nine-month-old baby girl found dead in the surf at Surfers Paradise.

Local resident Erin Sorensen says she went to police two months ago to share her concerns about the baby, as well as a toddler who was also sleeping rough with the couple. "Clearly, I wasn't taken seriously," she wrote on Facebook.

"It was winter and the dunes were freezing every time the sun went down. I didn't think that was good for a baby or toddler."

"They had blankets at that time but I would hear the newborn crying early hours of morning," a Surfers Paradise resident told the Gold Coast Bulletin yesterday. "Why was the baby left with the parents - just why?"

Sydney Hamilton park at Surfers Paradise, where a homeless couple and their child lived. picture Glenn Hampson
Sydney Hamilton park at Surfers Paradise, where a homeless couple and their child lived. picture Glenn Hampson

Police have recovered a two-year-old boy in a "healthy" condition - who is believed to be the dead baby's sibling and is now in the care of the state's Department of Child Safety.

Tributes at the Surfers Paradise beach where a Baby was found dead. Picture: AAP image, John Gass
Tributes at the Surfers Paradise beach where a Baby was found dead. Picture: AAP image, John Gass

Child safety advocate Hetty Johnston says there must be a public inquiry into how the baby was left in such a heartbreaking situation.

"The public needs to understand the system they are paying for and how broken it is," the Bravehearts founder told AAP.

"If they (child services) did know about this family, we need to know what happened here. And if they didn't know, then there's something seriously wrong there."

The beach where the body of an infant was found at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Monday, November 19, 2018. (AAP Image/Regi Varghese)
The beach where the body of an infant was found at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Monday, November 19, 2018. (AAP Image/Regi Varghese)

The parents were taken into custody after police attended an alleged domestic violence incident soon after discovering the dead baby.

The couple, who were known to police, had not reported their daughter missing before her body was found.

It is understood the homeless parents were also known to child safety services. However Child Safety Minister Di Farmer refused to comment on the case, citing privacy.

Jessica Nobbs leaves a messages for the little baby. (AAP image, John Gass)
Jessica Nobbs leaves a messages for the little baby. (AAP image, John Gass)

Opposition Deputy Leader Tim Mander said it would be "incredibly disturbing" if the girl was known to child ­safety services.

"What happened to this little nine-month-old girl was an absolute tragedy," Mr Mander said. "We will await the outcome of police investigations, but if the parents were known to child ­safety and nothing was done then that needs to be made public."

Reverend Jon Brook, of the St John's Church crisis care centre in Surfers Paradise, told the Courier Mail he believed his service had tried to help the couple find affordable accommodation.

"If it's the couple I believe, they were living as rough as it gets - in parks, toilet blocks, under bridges, wherever," he said. "This is just a terrible tragedy. I feel for that poor little child."

A mourner looks at the tributes left for the deceased baby girl. (AAP image, John Gass)
A mourner looks at the tributes left for the deceased baby girl. (AAP image, John Gass)

The Bulletin revealed that seven months ago, a concerned Surfers Paradise resident told Gold Coast City Council about the homeless family and it was also flagged with welfare services.

Council staff wrote back after five days, apologising for the late reply and telling the resident to raise the matter with other authorities as it was not a council responsibility.

A support worker from homeless services did visit the family but the couple refused help, the Bulletin reported.

The tragedy has cast a heartbreaking light on the scale of the city's homelessness problem.

Police at the crime scene set up on the beach in the early hours of Monday morning. MUST Picture: 9NEWS
Police at the crime scene set up on the beach in the early hours of Monday morning. MUST Picture: 9NEWS

The 2016 Census showed there were 1723 homeless people on the Gold Coast, a 27 per cent jump since 2011.

Kathleen Vlasic, local co-ordinator of community group Rosies - which has been helping homeless people on the Gold Coast for more than 30 years - said it was the very fact Surfers Paradise was so busy that drew them and others in need of a helping hand.

"It could be 100 to 200 people. It varies from time to time, it's not always the same," Ms Vlasic told the ABC.

"They seem to be able to blend in and not be so noticed all the time. They can wander through Surfers and they're not really going to stand out like a sore toe."

Both parents are in police custody and have been questioned by Queensland homicide detectives but no charges have been laid.

Tributes left for the infant who died on Surfers Paradise beach. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Tributes left for the infant who died on Surfers Paradise beach. Picture: Glenn Hampson

Detective Inspector Marc Hogan said the discovery of the young girl yesterday morning was traumatic for everyone involved.

"This is a very tragic event. It's a very sad situation," he said. "It will impact a lot of people." Insp Hogan said it appeared the girl had been in the water, but there were no obvious wounds or injuries. "Not that I could see," he said describing it as "not your typical crime scene".

"The body was located on the edge of the surf so clearly she had been in the water. I don't know how long for. We will set out trying to find that out today as best we can," he said.

He said drugs weren't a factor in the parents' behaviour but he didn't rule out foul play.

He said the baby did not have any obvious injuries and a ground and air search of the beach yielded little evidence.

Tributes left for the infant who died on Surfers Paradise beach. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Tributes left for the infant who died on Surfers Paradise beach. Picture: Glenn Hampson

EARLIER: Just a day after a nine-month-old girl's body was found washed up on a Gold Coast beach, another, even younger child has been found dead in suspicious circumstances in Queensland.

Police say a 35-year-old woman and 37-year-old man are helping with police inquiries after the death of a four-month-old girl in the southern Brisbane suburb of Logan.

She was taken to the Logan Hospital on Monday morning with life-threatening injuries.

She was then transferred to the Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane in a critical condition, where she died yesterday afternoon.

The Department of Child Safety said it could not comment on individual cases. Picture: ABC
The Department of Child Safety said it could not comment on individual cases. Picture: ABC

Detectives from the Logan Child Protection and Investigation Unit, and homicide detectives are investigating.

The Department of Child Safety said it could not comment on individual cases.

It comes just a day after another baby girl was found dead on a Gold Coast beach in a separate incident.

Queensland has been rocked by two suspicious baby deaths in two days. Picture: AAP/John Gass
Queensland has been rocked by two suspicious baby deaths in two days. Picture: AAP/John Gass

The nine-month-old's body was found washed up on the beach at Surfers Paradise on Monday.

Her homeless 48-year-old father and 23-year-old mother are in custody but no charged have been laid.

Monday's death stoked serious questions from the community about how a child could have been left in such conditions, despite the family's tragic circumstances being reported to authorities.

Local resident Erin Sorensen says she went to police two months ago to share her concerns about the baby, as well as a toddler who was also sleeping rough with the couple.

"Clearly, I wasn't taken seriously," she wrote on Facebook.

"It was winter and the dunes were freezing every time the sun went down. I didn't think that was good for a baby or toddler.

"They had blankets at that time but I would hear the newborn crying early hours of morning," a Surfers Paradise resident told the Gold Coast Bulletin yesterday. "Why was the baby left with the parents - just why?"