Toyah breakthrough: Manhunt for male nurse

HOMICIDE detectives are investigating a male Indian nurse at a far north Queensland hospital - who has fled overseas - as a key suspect in the Toyah Cordingley murder.

Queensland Police have been liaising with Interpol and Indian law enforcement agencies in an international manhunt for the suspected killer of the beloved 24-year-old at Wangetti Beach seven weeks ago.

 

Toyah Cordingley was killed at Wangetti Beach north of Cairns on October 21.
Toyah Cordingley was killed at Wangetti Beach north of Cairns on October 21.

The Sunday Mail understands the former Queensland Health registered nurse inexplicably packed up his belongings and flew back to India shortly after the grisly discovery of her body buried in sand dunes.

Police have been working to track the suspect's movements on a trip to Cairns on the day of Toyah's murder and match DNA that may link him to the murder scene.

Toyah, a pharmacy assistant and a "beautiful soul", was brutally attacked and killed while walking her dog in broad daylight on the secluded beach, 40km north of Cairns, on Sunday, October 21.

Her father Troy found the dog tied up to a tree and her body "all messed up" and buried in sand with "visible and violent injuries" in a search early the next day.

It is the highest profile police homicide investigation in the state's north in living memory, with tens of thousands of people rallying to help find the killer and get justice for Toyah.

Vanessa Gardiner, the mother of murder victim Toyah Cordingley, makes a plea for information. Picture: Supplied
Vanessa Gardiner, the mother of murder victim Toyah Cordingley, makes a plea for information. Picture: Supplied

The Sunday Mail has contacted relatives of the suspect who declined to comment except to say the man was not at home.

Queensland Health's Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service confirmed the male nurse had disappeared from work without explanation shortly after the murder.

"We can confirm the person is no longer an employee of Queensland Health,'' a statement said.

"This matter is under police investigation and therefore we will not be making any comment.''

Toyah Cordingley was murdered
Toyah Cordingley was murdered

Staff at the hospital where the man worked have given statements to police about the individual, his behaviour, professional record, personal details, family history and his movements.

Police investigators have been tightly-guarded about the top-level murder probe and various strategies deployed to catch the killer and yesterday declined to discuss the stunning breakthrough in the case.

Asked if investigators had a DNA match linking the suspect to the murder or if an Interpol red list notice had been issued for his arrest, police had no comment.

"The Queensland Police Service will not be providing anything further other than the investigation is continuing,'' a spokesman said.

"Speculation surrounding elements of the investigation are not helpful and have the potential to jeopardise it,'' he said.

The stretch of coastline near Wangetti and Borderline Beach. PICTURE: Anna Rogers
The stretch of coastline near Wangetti and Borderline Beach. PICTURE: Anna Rogers

 

Police are calling on 70 key witnesses to come forward. Picture: Facebook
Police are calling on 70 key witnesses to come forward. Picture: Facebook

 

TIMELINE OF TRAGEDY

Sunday Oct 21

noon-1pm

Cairns woman Toyah Cordingley, 24, attends the popular Rusty's Markets in Cairns.

2pm-2.30pm

She arrives at the south access point of Wangetti Beach with her dog, parks in the dirt car park off the Captain Cook Highway and walks north along the beach.

11pm

Toyah is reported missing by her family to police.

Monday Oct 22

6.30am

Family members and friends put a call out on social media after Toyah failed to return home.

7.45am

Toyah's distraught father Troy finds his daughter's body on the beach, 800m from where she had parked her car. Her dog was found safe in the area. Her body shows visible and violent injuries. Police confirm Toyah's identity and issue a public appeal for anyone with information on her killing.

Tuesday Oct 23

Police doorknock in the Wangetti community and begin taking DNA swabs from residents and illegal campers as the SES continues searches along Wangetti Beach.

Thursday Oct 25

Police use a drone to scour the shoreline and thick bushland along Wangetti Beach and deploy dummies in the hunt for the killer.

Friday Oct 26

Troy relives the horrific vision of Toyah's body in the sand dunes, saying "she was messed up" when found. A 1000-strong group gathers in Cairns for a vigil for Toyah.

Sunday Oct 28

Police urge Queenslanders to dob in anyone who is acting suspiciously, has unexplained injuries, movements, or lost clothing from the day of Toyah's murder. Nine billboards are deployed on the Captain Cook Highway between Cairns and Port Douglas in a public appeal for information.

Monday Oct 29

Police release video footage of Toyah's movements on her last day alive, leaving Rusty's ­Markets and heading to her car.

Thursday Nov 1

More than 350 people attend Toyah's funeral at a Cairns chapel.

Sunday Nov 4

More than 200 members of the public, some with metal detectors, join police and SES to re-search Wangetti Beach for clues.

Sunday Nov 11

An indigenous smoking ceremony attracts more than 100 community members from as far as Innisfail, as mourners link hands and face the sea before casting flowers into the ocean at Wangetti.

Tuesday Nov 13

Toyah's friend Wayne Trimble launches a plan to print 100,000 bumper stickers reading "Toyah, the community will never give up".

Sunday Nov 18

Police divers scour Moody Creek in Cairns as a sniper stands guard against crocodiles.

Monday Nov 19

Toyah's mother Vanessa Gardiner makes a heart-wrenching appeal for public support to help find her daughter's killer.

Wednesday Nov 28

Detectives launch a fresh appeal to help identify drivers of 68 vehicles captured on CCTV on the Captain Cook Highway on the day Toyah was killed.

Thursday Dec 6

Rugby league legend Billy Slater signs a sticker (below) to be raffled to help fund a community campaign to find Toyah's killer.



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