Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said detectives investigating the case had to follow “hundreds and hundreds” of leads before they managed to confirm the identity of Alice Springs-born Khandalyce Kiara Pearce, who was found in a suitcase on the side of the Karoonda Highway.
DNA tests confirmed she was the daughter of Karlie Pearce-Stevenson, whose skeletal remains were found in New South Wales’ Belanglo State Forest in 2010.
Stevens told ABC891 the process of eliminating other likely identities uncovered a number of cases where children were “in circumstances of concern” and authorities had intervened.
“We’ve had three or four kids that we’ve been able to intervene in terms of their current circumstances because of the fact that we’ve been looking for this one individual child, so there’s off-shoots of this investigation that have proved to be of benefit as well,” he said.
“We’ve been able to make sure that the right measures were put in place to ensure the safety of those children as well.”
Stevens said police were monitoring media coverage of the case, warning there was a potential “misinformation” could be broadcast which “could have negative consequences” for the case.
“We have to monitor the media very carefully … there’s a lot of speculation and a lot of innuendo or rumour that is printed in such a way that it would be construed as fact and … one risk is that other people with information might see the story going in a different direction than what they actually know and maybe not come forward.”
He said added that while he understood the high level of public interest, “it doesn’t make our job any easier”.
Daniel James Holdom, 41, appeared in the NSW Maitland Local Court last week charged with Pearce-Stevenson’s murder.
His former girlfriend Hazel Passmore, 33, yesterday spent several hours at the Elizabeth Police Station being questioned by detectives.
Police confirmed she had been interviewed about the murders of Pearce-Stevenson and Khandalyce, but they said there had been no further arrests or charges.
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