Family and friends of two-year-old Tanilla Warrick-Deaves at her funeral at East Ballina on September 13. Courtesy of Brooke Bowen and Adrian Casaran-Warrick
Family and friends of two-year-old Tanilla Warrick-Deaves at her funeral at East Ballina on September 13. Courtesy of Brooke Bowen and Adrian Casaran-Warrick

Man charged with toddler's murder

A 28-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested and charged with murdering the daughter of a Ballina man almost two weeks after the two-year-old was laid to rest in a Northern Rivers cemetery.

Tanilla Warrick-Deaves died in hospital on August 27 after she was found with a string of injuries in her Watanobbi home on the Central Coast.

For four months, until January this year, Tanilla and her sister lived with their father, Adrian Casaran-Warrick and his partner in their Ballina home.

Tanilla, 2, a "beautiful and calm" little girl, lived in Watanobbi with her mother Donna Deaves and her mother's boyfriend, Warren Ross.

On Tuesday, Ross was arrested in the Ourimbah State Forest, west of Watanobbi, where he was believed to have been camping with Ms Deaves.

He was taken to Gosford Police Station and charged with two counts of using a carriage service to threaten to kill and intimidation.

The charges relate to Ross allegedly intimidating witnesses in the investigation into Tanilla's death, Tuggerah Lakes Local Area Command Detective Inspector David Waddell told reporters at a press conference on the Central Coast yesterday.

Before police charged Ross with murder, he was taken to Gosford Hospital to treat minor injuries to his hands, which were self-inflicted, police said.

Yesterday morning, he was discharged from hospital under police escort and formally charged with Tanilla's murder. He appeared in Wyong Local Court yesterday and was refused bail.

Det Insp Waddell said Tanilla suffered injuries sustained "over a period of time, probably days and weeks".

He said a number of people had come forward to police claiming to have "witnessed her, or someone they believed to be her, being assaulted".

A funeral was held for Tanilla at the picturesque East Ballina Cemetery on September 13.

The two-year-old was buried in a small pink coffin covered in roses. Pink and white balloons were released by grieving family and friends.

Mr Casaran-Warrick was unavailable for comment yesterday, but previously told The Northern Star when police revealed they were treating Tanilla's death as suspicious he was "relieved but devastated" that what he "suspected was verified".



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