A hand-made patchwork quilt is the latest lead being pursued by South Australian police to identify the little girl whose remains were found dumped in bush beside a lonely SA highway.
The quilt was found with the child’s skeletal remains and clothing near Wynarka, in the state’s southeast, almost two weeks ago.
Police released images of the badly degraded, colourful quilt on Sunday, hoping it would help them identify the little girl who is believed to be aged between two-and-a-half and four, had fair hair and could have died up to eight years ago.
Major crimes’ Detective Superintendent Des Bray said the quilt appears to be homemade and machine-stitched.
“Somebody has gone to the effort of making that quilt for somebody they care about and love,” Supt Bray told a news conference.
“Now, it’s possible the person who originally had the quilt given to them, or that family, may have moved on with their lives and given the quilt to somebody else.
“The quilt may have ended up in an op shop or similar, and it could have been given to somebody else, but even if that’s occurred, it’s extremely distinctive and it’s impossible to believe that somebody doesn’t know who had that quilt.”
If the quilt was picked up from an op shop, the location of the op shop could give police vital clues on the location of the killer, Supt Bray said.
The fabric, which is still intact, reveals a wide border of black material decorated with musical notes and images of a pumpkin patch, a camel and dragonflies.
The investigation has resulted in 280 calls to CrimeStoppers, resulting in 29 children nominated as potential victims being eliminated from the investigation.
“I guess in terms of recent cases it’s unprecedented, the level of calls that we are getting, and we encourage people who think they might know something to ring us,” Supt Bray said.
Quilting associations have assisted police, Supt Bray said.
Police are still appealing for a man seen in the area about six to eight weeks ago with a dark suitcase to come forward.