Cops raid squalid housing commission home where little Charlie, six, was found dead in her nappy in a suspected case of child neglect

  • Police have visited housing commission home where Charlie, six, found dead
  • Major crime detectives launched search of Munno Para property on Wednesday
  • Charlie was found unresponsive at home in Adelaide’s north on Friday morning
  • Six-year-old’s tragic death has become the focus of a major police investigation

Police have raided the squalid home where little Charlie, six, was found dead in her nappy in a suspected case of criminal neglect.

Major crime detectives visited the Munno Para home in Adelaide’s northern suburbs on Wednesday, with the little girl’s death the subject of a major crimes investigation.

The six-year-old was found unresponsive about 1am on Friday after her mother raised the alarm, screaming: ‘Charlie’s not breathing!’

Detectives spoke to Charlie’s mother on Wednesday morning before she left the property on foot, in a pink hoodie, to allow detectives to carry out their search.

Police in protective clothing and masks were seen searching the home and taking photos as protective security kept watch.

They took what appeared to be a hard-drive from a neighbouring home which had a security camera installed.

Detectives were also seen door-knocking along Charlie’s street.

The girl’s five siblings have been removed from the house and placed in the care of the state as the investigation continues.

The housing commission home is surrounded by overgrown grass and littered with various items including old appliances, children’s toys, a tent and a mattress.

Authorities have confirmed Charlie and her family were known to at least three government agencies – including the Department of Child Protection.

In January last year, Charlie and her siblings watched their ‘drug-fuelled’ father stab their mother multiple times – including to the neck – at the Munno Para home.

But despite the children witnessing the horrifying attack – and their father’s history of domestic violence and drug use – authorities did not remove them.

Charlie’s aunt – wearing a pink hoodie with a slogan that read ‘but did you die? #mumlife’ – lashed out at media when she was asked how her mother was feeling.

‘How do you think she’s feeling? Her daughter just died in her arms! Of course she’s upset,’ she said outside the home on Tuesday.

One neighbour, Bec, told Daily Mail Australia the girl’s mum had raised the alarm late at night and described the efforts of those who tried to save Charlie’s life.

‘It was about 1am and we were about to go to sleep, and we heard this banging on the door.

‘Charlie’s mum was screaming “Charlie isn’t breathing!” so we raced over there.

‘She was on the floor in a nappy and she was paper white … and when I touched her she was stone cold and her eyes were open and fixated on the ceiling.

‘We did everything to try and get Charlie to breathe.’

Bec’s sister desperately tried to resuscitate Charlie with the pair noticing something in the girl’s mouth when they rolled her onto her side.

They frantically tried to clear her airway, before rolling her onto her back, and trying CPR again. Paramedics arrived soon after and worked on Charlie for half an hour.

Bec said: ‘Paramedics were able get the breathing tube in after a lot of suction, but even though they managed to get air into her lungs, her heart didn’t want to start.

‘They pronounced her dead in hospital, but she was gone before that.’

The mother-of-five said the image of Charlie on the floor wearing a nappy, dying on the floor, paper-white and stone-cold is burned into her mind.

Bec and her sister tried to keep Charlie’s siblings away from the horrific scene. They were distraught over what was happening to their sister.

When asked about the cause of death, Bec said she didn’t know whether she choked to death or whether there were health issues going on that no one knew about.

However, she noted that no one saw Charlie for the last few weeks of her life because she was suffering a mystery illness – noting the girl and her siblings never looked healthy and often had head lice.

Eighteen months ago, police were called to the home after Charlie’s father attacked her mother, his partner of 18-years, during a fight while he was under the influence of methylamphetamine.

During a sentencing hearing in February, the court heard he had been a habitual user of the drug for many years and, after quitting, relapsed on the night of the attack.

The fight started in the bedroom before moving to the front yard, where the mother was stabbed three times.

‘It (the attack) occurred in front of the house and was witnessed by at least one civilian, who had to pull the defendant away from the victim not once, but twice,’ a prosecutor told the District Court.

The father was initially charged with attempted murder before pleaded guilty to the downgraded offence of causing harm with intent.

He was sentenced in March this year to five years and six months in jail with a non-parole period of three years and six months.

Four years ago, he was also sentenced for aggravated assault for slapping the same victim in the face.

Now, investigators will probe what other interactions they had with the family in the years leading up to Charlie’s death.

Charlie’s uncle, who cannot be named for legal reasons, expressed disbelief about what had happened.

‘It’s f***ed,’ he said. ‘I didn’t find out on Friday – I found out she died on Monday.’

SA Deputy Police Commissioner Linda Williams on Tuesday said the six-year-old’s living conditions were ‘poor’ and said it was too early to determine if her death could have been prevented.

Acting Premier Susan Close said a government review would investigate the interactions between Charlie’s family and the state’s human services, child protection, education and housing agencies.

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