The dad of a schoolgirl murdered and dumped into a barrel on the side of a river has vowed to “get answers” about her death.
The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, shared a tribute just hours after learning his daughter’s body had been found a week after she had disappeared from a Mount Wilson property in the Blue Mountains, Australia, the Daily Mail reports.
He said in a touching tribute: “Goodbye beautiful girl… We will get answers for you baby, and we will honour you properly.
“You have captured the hearts of the nation and the world, and now those hearts are breaking with mine.”
The horrific details about the girl’s death emerged on Wednesday.
Reports say distressed police found the body inside a barrel in scrubland near the Colo River, found roughly an hour away from where the nine-year-old had vanished.
The young girl was staying with her mother and stepdad over the school holidays but usually stays with her grandmother in Coolangatta on the Gold Coast.
She attends a local primary school south of the border and just weeks before she vanished won a literacy award at the end-of-year celebrations at her school, where she’s known as a spritely and cheerful student.
In his statement on Wednesday, the father of the young girl said this “would not be the end of [her] story.
He added: “This doesn’t happen. Kids need to be safe. What is wrong with people?”
A 32-year-old man was arrested in Surry Hills on Tuesday night at around 8:30pm and charged with murder.
Neither he nor the girl can be identified for legal reasons, with the man facing Central Local Court on Wednesday morning.
The accused was allegedly trying to get the barrel into the river but abandoned it in the scrubs when he couldn’t drag it through the dense bushland.
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The victim went missing from the property where she was holidaying with her mother and mother’s fiancé in Mount Wilson on Thursday afternoon, and was reported missing at 8:20am the next morning.
Police searched the Colo and Hawkesbury rivers after information that a boat was used in the hours after she vanished.
Her grandmother confessed to a friend that she was “struggling” when her granddaughter had gone on holiday.
Sharing a photo of the two of them with a Snapchat filter, she said “A bit of silly business was needed to lift the mood.”
Earlier this week police seized a vehicle and boat as part of the investigation.