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Twelve people have been arrested and are expected to be charged with the murder of an eight-year-old girl, who was found dead in a Queensland property after she was allegedly denied access to medical treatment.
Police allege Elizabeth Rose Struhs had been suffering a medical condition and was denied access to treatment for six days by a religious group in Toowoomba, who were aware of the child’s illness.
“It will be alleged the child suffered an underlying medical condition, who was denied treatment for that condition over a period of six days,” Southern Region Detective Acting Superintendent Garry Watts said.
“The body of an eight-year-old child was found at a Rangeville property, January 8.”
Watts said Elizabeth passed away on January 7, but emergency services were not notified until 5.30 pm the next day.
A search warrant was executed at a home in Homestead Avenue this morning, where 30 officers arrested the 12 people, ranging in ages from 19 to 64.
“From our investigations, the religious group consists of three families,” Watts said.
“All of the 12 arrested were aware of the child’s condition, were there at the address and did not take any steps to provide medical assistance to the child,” police alleged.
The seven women and five men arrested are expected to be charged with murder today.
The parents of the child, a 47-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man had already been arrested during investigations into Elizabeth’s death.
They were charged January 11 with murder, torture and failure to comply with necessities of life.
Watts said the six month investigation to catch the remaining 12 alleged perpetrators was complex, involving the Toowoomba child protection investigative unit, the child trauma unit and homicide investigators.
“It’s not the kind of situation we as investigators are faced with commonly,” he said.
“In my nearly 40 years of policing I haven’t seen anything like this.
“It’s a very complex investigation and I’m not aware of a similar event in Queensland let alone Australia.
“It’s a tragic set of circumstances.”