Plea For Clues To Baby's Murder
THE murder of Charlotte Rose Keen has torn a family apart as the search for her killers intensifies.
Grandparents Bob and Lesley Keen say their son Graeme is close to a breakdown over the brutal killing of his daughter, just three days before her first birthday.
Charlotte was taken off life support on December 17, after a five-day battle with massive injuries that police say were intentionally inflicted.
She was sent to Wodonga and Albury Hospital on December 12, then airlifted to the Royal Children's Hospital where she died.
Mr Keen said his son was suffering greatly and they were desperate to get justice and peace of mind.
"All this is breaking us apart, Graeme's devastated. Charlotte was an only child and she was precious to him."
Graeme and his former partner Renee Jones, 22, split just months before the tragedy and had dual custody of Charlotte. Ms Jones was living with another man, Brett Penrose.
Mr Keen said his son was so distraught he had isolated himself. "He won't even talk to me at the moment," he said. "He's so upset, he's not handling it well at all."
The suspicion about her killers has led police to call for witnesses, but Charlotte's grandparents say they aren't sure what happened that fateful night.
"To coin a phrase, there's no smoking gun, there's no hammer with blood on it," Mr Keen said. "Because it's such an intensive investigation we have to wait for police to do their work.
"If she had've died of a serious illness, it's a different matter because you have time for something like that, but this you can't prepare for."
Lesley Keen said her son was to pick up his daughter on the night of her death, but arranged to let her stay at her mother's Phefley Court home, because of another commitment in Wodonga.
"He's a broken man," Ms Keen said. She described Charlotte as a happy girl just starting to walk and talk.
They have pleaded for public help to give their family some closure in this case.
"If we even suspected for one minute something was wrong, we would've had her out of there in nothing flat," Mr Keen said, "but it came like a bolt out of the blue."
Detective Inspector Steve Francis of the homicide squad yesterday described the injuries sustained by Charlotte as non-accidental.
"The fact she was transferred from the local hospital to the intensive care unit to the Royal Children's hospital indicates the extent of those injuries," he said.
Det-Insp Francis said family members and people known to them had been interviewed.
Police also revealed the 34-year-old de facto has two children to another relationship who visited the home where paramedics attended to the injured Charlotte.
Herald Sun (14-2-2005)
Anthony Dowsley and Holly Lloyd-McDonald