A mother and her boyfriend charged with manslaughter after a toddler was left to die inside a hot car were allegedly just metres away as the tragedy unfolded.
Police allege Laura Black, 37, and Aaron Hill, 29, left ‘beautiful’ three-year-old Rylee Rose Black inside a Toyota Prado in Burdell in Townsville’s north on Friday when temperatures reached 32.8 degrees.
Black allegedly left the little girl inside the car after taking Rylee’s other siblings to school in the morning.
Police allege she was locked inside the vehicle for most of the day while her mother was inside a home just metres away and was only found when her she went to do the afternoon school run.
Rylee was then rushed to Townsville University Hospital just 15 minutes away but was unable to be revived.
Her mother’s exact movements that day are still being investigated but police have ruled out drugs and alcohol as a factor in the tragedy.
Rylee and her three sisters were from Black’s former relationship with ex-husband Pete Black
Her father and his new partner have asked for privacy as they come to terms with the tragic loss.
‘It’s hard enough grieving alone, without it being publicised everywhere,’ a loved one told The Sunday Mail.
Black and Hill had only recently started dating, having made their relationship official in September.
The co-accused were due to appear before Townsville Magistrates Court on Saturday but Black’s lawyer asked for the case to be adjourned until December 14, the Townsville Bulletin reported.
Black is now seeking legal aid support. Both were remanded and remain in custody.
Investigators said the pair were not known to police, and have remained tight-lipped about how the tragedy allegedly unfolded.
On Facebook, friends and loved ones rushed to support the couple.
One friend described Hill – an avid pig hunter who works as a driller at a mine in Mt Isa – as a ‘great dad’.
Tributes have poured in from across the country on social media for the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl.
The little girl’s siblings are now in the care of their biological father.
Queensland is currently in the grips of a heatwave with Townsville reaching 32.8C on Friday.
This is the third such incident in Queensland within a year.
A three-year-old boy died in February after he was left in a daycare bus in Cairns.
In November 2019, Brisbane mother Kerri-Ann Conley, was charged with murder after her daughters, aged one and two, died in a similar incident.
According to Kidsafe, more than 5,000 children are rescued each year in Australia after being left unattended in a car.
Children left in hot vehicles are at risk of life-threatening heatstroke, dehydration, suffocation, organ damage and death.
The interior of a car can peak at 75 degrees, regardless of whether or not the vehicle is in the sun or left in the shade.