The mother of murdered Cairns woman Toyah Cordingley says life will never be the same again, as police reveal a search of Lake Placid and Caravonica west of Cairns in far north Queensland has led to the discovery of items of interest.
The 24-year-old pharmacy worker was walking her dog on Wangetti Beach, north of Cairns, when she was attacked on October 21.
Vanessa Gardiner described how she and her family searched Wangetti Beach for her daughter, saying it was Toyah’s father who eventually found her body the day after she disappeared.
Ms Gardiner said she has had many sleepless nights.
“It’s an emotional rollercoaster of grief, hate, anger, and nothingness feeling hollow, guilt, not knowing how to feel,” she said.
“To have her stolen from us in such a manner breaks our hearts in ways you can’t even imagine.
“Christmas this year will be unbelievably hard without Toyah as she will never open the presents I already have for her.
“You can help our broken family by bringing hope and justice for Toyah’s senseless death.
“Life for us will never ever be the same.”
Ms Gardiner described what had happened to her family as “the nightmare”.
She described how when Toyah went missing, the family searched Wangetti Beach in the darkness with “little torches” until first light.
“We kept searching till my phone battery went flat,” she said.
The family found Toyah’s dog and Ms Gardiner said they returned home.
She said it wasn’t until Toyah’s father Troy took police to where the dog was found that he discovered her body.
Ms Gardiner said Toyah’s father had to be carried from the scene.
“The disbelief of everything started, and we spent the rest of our day with police at two stations in a state of shock.
“The scale of what was happening was unbelievable. SES divers and police were everywhere. It was surreal and we could see the main crime scene where our Toyah was.”
Queensland police said they have expanded their investigation further south of the beach where Toyah’s body was found.
Detective Inspector Sonia Smith said items relevant to the investigation were found during a search of the Lake Placid and Caravonica areas, west of Cairns, over the weekend.
“We found a number of items. I am not able to go into those exact [details of those] items, but they will form part of our investigation,” she said.
“We’ve identified a number of areas of interest, which led to searches by the State Emergency Service and Queensland Police divers.
“Particularly on Sunday we saw over 50 State of Emergency Service members attend and assist with a police search of the Lake Placid and Caravonica areas.”
Detective Inspector Smith said Queensland Police hoped the statement by Toyah’s mother would help them find the killer.
“We hope that it will trigger someone’s memory and encourage people to call Crime Stoppers to provide more information,” she said.
Police also asked for women to come forward if they had seen men behaving inappropriately on beach areas between two primary locations – the northern beaches of Cairns and the coastal town of Cardwell, more than 200 kilometres south of where Toyah’s body was found.
“Any female that’s been approached by any male acting aggressively, inappropriately or making them feel uncomfortable in the past two years,” she said.
“We’ve already had a number of calls to Crime Stoppers from females in relation to males causing them concern on our beaches.”
Readers with information that could assist the investigation should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.