The father accused of starving his young daughter had recently avoided his family and cried along with his late wife’s bridesmaid, relatives say.
Mark Dunn, 43, is said to have left little Willow, 4, to die in her crib, without calling for two days’ help despite finding her body at their Cannon Hill home on Saturday.
When authorities were finally called to the Brisbane suburban home on Monday, they claimed they found a malnourished Willow dead with bone-deep sores on her hips.
He lived in the house with girlfriend Shannon White, who has now been revealed as a bridesmaid at his wedding to Willow’s birth mother Naomi Dunn in 2014.
Mrs. Dunn died a year after their marriage, just days after the birth of Willow, who had Down syndrome.
Shortly after her death, Ms. White, who had been friends with Ms. Dunn for about 20 years, left South Australia and moved in with the widower in Queensland.
Mr. Dunn’s family has since accused him of pushing them away so that he could enter into a relationship with his late wife’s bridesmaid, Australian.
Naomi Dunn (photo, left) died after giving birth to Willow in 2015. A year earlier, Shannon White (right) had been a bridesmaid at her wedding – but later ‘shot at her husband’.
Willow Dunn’s body was found malnourished and decomposing on Monday in her bed at her Cannon Hill home, with her face reportedly partially eaten by rats
He reportedly banned his wife’s other children from seeing Willow and blocking their phone numbers and social media accounts.
“He pushed everyone away when (Naomi) died so he could be with Shannon,” said the family member.
In scenes described as one of the most disturbing that the police have ever seen, Willow reportedly suffered from infected sores and was attacked by rats.
On Friday, police confirmed that a post-mortem had revealed that the toddler died of malnutrition and continued neglect.
A Facebook post from Ms. White in 2014 claimed Ms. Dunn was her best friend aged 19 (photo)
Mrs. White became Willow’s stepmother, having previously been a bridesmaid at her parents’ wedding in 2014 (pictured, with Mark Dunn, left, and Naomi, right)
She is said to have been known to the Child Safety Department, but was not registered with the National Disability Scheme.
Murder Commission Acting Inspector Chris Knight said the police had spoken to all members of the household, including Willow’s 19-year-old stepsister.
“We continue to explore all aspects of Willow’s life, including her care, her health, and her treatment in the days, weeks, months, and years prior to her death,” said Inspector Knight.
“Our investigations will continue until investigators are convinced that we have exhausted all options to conduct a thorough evaluation and decide if there are other accusations against other people responsible for caring for Willow.”
He admitted that paramedics and police had found the scene “extremely confrontational” when they arrived at the family home.
Willow’s father, Mark James Dunn (pictured), has been charged with her murder, with the family claiming he ‘shunned’ them after her mother died – along with her best friend
Flowers and toys were distributed by the wealthy outside the Cannon Hill home on Thursday (photo)
“In my experience, ambulance officers and police officers in general are fairly resilient people,” he said.
“But I can assure you that in my experience and my contact with the individuals involved, they faced a scene that will stay with them for years to come.”
Ms. Dunn died in 2015 a week after Willow’s birth from blood clots, Kipping said, never had a chance to care for her baby.
Ms. Dunn’s childhood friend also described her as a “beautiful” person.
“The last time I spoke to her on a messenger, she was happy. She just still seemed to be the lucky girl who was my best friend years ago. said Anita Thompson.
Police are investigating whether the toddler is starving in her own bedroom in the Cannon Hill house (photo)
‘She [Naomi] would have been a great mother to Willow. I can’t believe that poor girl.
Mrs. Dunn was a mother of six and a “nanna” of two.
Reports show that Ms. Dunn and her bridesmaid, who later became her daughter’s stepmother, were close friends for decades.
In 2014, Ms. White said, “I still have my bestie from 19 years ago Naomi Kipping (Ms. Dunn). No matter what happens, she has always been there for me. ‘
Daily Mail Australia understands that after her mother died, Willow moved in with an uncle and aunt, but returned to live with Mr Dunn about a year later.
Locals said they hadn’t seen Willow two weeks before her death and had looked unwell for the past few weeks, The courier post reported.
Di Farmer, Queensland’s child safety minister, declined to comment on the department’s relationship with Willow’s family.
Shannon White (pictured) is Willow’s stepmother and was best friends with Willow’s birth mother, Naomi Dunn, for 20 years before moving in with Mr Dunn after she died.
Shocked neighbors arrived on Tuesday to lay flowers for the toddler, but many said they had never seen the little girl – despite the family moving a year ago.
“They’ve been there for so long and we didn’t know a little girl lived there,” said a neighbor.
“That’s the big take-home for me. I can not believe it. ‘
Her father was charged with a new definition of murder in Queensland targeting child killers, including “reckless indifference to human life.”
The case was briefly mentioned in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday, but Dunn did not appear in person and the case was adjourned until July 20.
A teddy bear, dressed in a Parramatta Eels sweater, was placed in the window of the family home on Tuesday, while a pram was abandoned in the front yard.
Police clear the site in Cannon Hill (pictured), where Willow was reportedly found with her face eaten by rats