Melbourne is in mourning for Gurshan Singh, a little boy who went missing on Thursday and was found dead six hours later.
For several hours, the city held its breath as news bulletins failed to produce any sign of hope. Then, the body of the three-year-old was found 20 km away from the home his parents shared with other adults.
His father, Harjit Singh Channa, had gone to a nearby library and Gurshan was screaming as he wanted to tag along. His mother, Harpreet Kaur Channa, was taking a shower. When she came out, he was gone.
The rented home in the suburb of Lalor is a busy thoroughfare. When the police were contacted, they began door-knocking the neighbourhood. But no one had seen the toddler.
Australian locals made a beeline to the Channa’s house with flowers, cards and toys to express grief. “If this is murder, there is nothing worse than the brutal murder of a child,” said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Initial forensic tests were inconclusive. “There is no visible sign of cause of death… It’s clear this wasn’t a natural death but we don’t have 100 per cent conclusion on what the actual cause of death was,” Victoria deputy police commissioner Sir Ken Jones said.
There was no reason to believe Gurshan’s death had any racial overtones.
(Inputs from agencies)