Police link toddler dumped in suitcase to mother buried in woods

A child whose decomposed body found in a suitcase in southern Australia roused the suspicions of police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been identified as the daughter of a woman whose skeletal remains were found in a forest 1,200km away.

The identities of both bodies had long baffled police in two states until they received a tip on a crime prevention hotline two weeks ago.

The caller suggested the girl in the suitcase might be a missing two-year-old named Khandalyce Pearce, South Australia state police said.

Police had sifted through dozens of missing persons profiles to try to identify the child’s remains, even receiving a call from British police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

DNA tests confirmed the remains were Khandalyce’s and police then used blood samples from the medical records of Khandalyce’s mother, Karlie Pearce-Stevenson, to confirm that a skeleton found in a New South Wales forest in 2010 belonged to the 20-year- old.

Police from both states have now teamed up to investigate how and where the pair died. Detective Superintendent Des Bray of South Australia Police declined to comment on whether they had any suspects, but said: “This is one of the most shocking crimes, shocking and unimaginable, and another family has been torn apart and devastated.

“Those people that are responsible for this crime are truly evil and must be quickly caught and held to account for what they’ve done.”

Khandalyce’s body was discovered in July after a driver spotted the suitcase dumped on the side of a main road near the small South Australia town of Wynarka.

Meanwhile, New South Wales police had been working for years to determine the identity of a woman whose bones were spotted by cyclists in 2010 in the Belanglo State Forest, about 140km south of Sydney.


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