Boyfriend speaks one year on from murder tragedy
TOYAH Cordingley's boyfriend says the 24-year-old's grisly murder has taken its toll personally, as one of Australia's most famous detectives says the public deserves answers.
Marco Heidenreich has never before spoken publicly about the devastating loss of his beloved girlfriend - a pharmacy worker, animal lover, and "pure soul" who was brutally slain at Wangetti Beach, north of Cairns, on October 21 last year.
Toyah's name and face adorns billboards and stickers in a high-profile campaign for justice with tens of thousands of supporters as the hunt for her killer continues.
Twelve months on, Queensland Police have not confirmed the identity of the prime suspect, the motive, the murder weapon - or even if they've got a killer in their sights - as the public begs for answers over the baffling murder case.
Former Innisfail nurse Rajwinder Singh, a father-of-three, who fled overseas the night her body was found before he vanished without a trace in India is a key person of interest.
Mr Heidenreich said he did not want to discuss who killed his girlfriend or the police handling of the murder investigation, but revealed the aftermath was heartbreaking.
"I've been through enough personally,'' he said. "It's hard enough for me to deal with it, without putting myself out there, but thank you."
Toyah's dad Troy discovered her body partly buried in sand dunes with "visible and violent injuries" - and the dog Jersey tied up to a tree - about 800m from her parked car in an agonising search early the next morning.
Police have obtained DNA evidence, CCTV footage, and triangulated mobile phones to co-locate and identify a suspect at the murder scene while police divers also found several items of interest dumped in a waterhole at Lake Placid, 34km south.
Ron Iddles, star of Foxtel's Good Cop and described as Australia's greatest homicide detective with a 99 per cent success rate during his years working murders in Victoria, says police have two options.
"They can tell us they've got a suspect and are on track,'' the veteran investigator, who now lives in Cairns, said.
"Or they say they've got nothing.
"Either way I think the public deserve an answer."
He revealed he was approached by a member of Toyah's family to review the police handling of the murder investigation - but that request was put on hold.
"Look, the public do not need a blow-by-blow account of the details of the investigation,'' Mr Iddles said. "But they do need to be reassured that police know who the suspect is, and they are working to put together a brief of evidence. It is a matter of good policing."
Innisfail enrolled nurse of almost seven years, Singh left behind his wife, two young children, a baby and his full-time job at Innisfail Hospital after Toyah's death and has not been heard from since.
"If it is the Indian person of interest they can reassure the public they are doing everything possible to locate and extradite him," Mr Iddles said.
"Or they say they have hit a brick wall, have no idea who did it, and are back to square one. Sometimes that can deliver fresh leads, the answer is always in the file.''
Toyah's father, mother and stepfather have all made emotional appeals for public help to solve the gruesome crime and a permanent memorial will be erected at the site next week to mark the anniversary of her death.
Queensland Police Detective Inspector Sonia Smith, who heads Operation Quebec Clarify, a dedicated team of homicide officers and support personnel, vowed they would not give up.
"Police remain unwavering in their commitment to deliver justice for Toyah, her family, her partner, friends and the local community who have shown immense support," Detective Inspector Smith said.
"The Queensland Police Service offers its sincere condolences to those still coming to terms with the tragedy on the anniversary of Toyah's death."
Police Minister Mark Ryan described it as an "act of evil".
"This was a tragedy that resonated with many people both in North Queensland and across the state,'' he said.
"I, like so many others, want to see Toyah's murderer arrested and brought before the courts and to feel the full force of the law.
"For someone's life to be callously stolen by another is an act of evil. For those left behind, the sudden, violent loss of a loved one leaves a bruise on the soul.
"My fervent hope is that justice is done for Toyah and those who cared for her."
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the murder had led to an unprecedented outpouring of community support.
"The public would like to know who did it,'' he said.
"They'd like to see her killer caught and brought to justice.
"The fact is, if the prime suspect has fled overseas, we may never see justice, or it may take another 10 or 20 years to find him and extradite him. But if she was your daughter or sister, you'd never stop.''
Police appeal for anyone with information regarding her murder, who may have until now been unwilling to speak, to come forward.