Police dig for evidence at Tiahleigh Palmer's foster home

Police will begin searching for Tiahleigh's backpack and school uniform. Photo / News Corp Australia
Police will begin searching for Tiahleigh's backpack and school uniform. Photo / News Corp Australia

Police will today begin digging up the yard of Tiahleigh Palmer's accused killer in an "intensive forensic search".

Earth-moving machinery is being brought in to excavate the Chambers Flat property belonging to the 12-year-old Logan schoolgirl's alleged murderer and foster father Rick Thorburn and his family, The Courier-Mail can reveal.

Police remain tight-lipped about exactly what they are looking for but it is believed to include Tia's missing school uniform and backpack.

Regional crime co-ordinator Detective Superintendent Kerry Johnson confirmed an excavator would move on to the 2ha property this morning.

Julene Thorburn tending to her horses at the Chambers Flat home. Photo / Jack TranSource, News Corp Australia
Julene Thorburn tending to her horses at the Chambers Flat home. Photo / Jack TranSource, News Corp Australia

"We will be looking for any evidence relating to Tia's murder and any of the other crimes with which the Thorburns have been charged," he said. "That will include any items, documents or DNA evidence. We will be looking for anything and everything."

The search comes as Tia's New Zealand biological mother Cindy Palmer steels herself to front a media conference at Logan police station today, where she is expected to thank police and the community for their efforts in bringing her daughter's alleged killer to justice.

Last night, Palmer warned followers on her #Justice4Tiahleigh Facebook page not to post a "certain article" that could prejudice a fair trial for the Thorburns.

"My fight is getting justice and convictions for my baby," she wrote.

The Thorburn property was raided and declared a crime scene after the family of four's arrest on Tuesday in connection with Tia's murder.

"We will have (possession of) that property for a few days," Supt Johnson said.

Police allowed Tia's foster mother, Julene Thorburn, on to the property yesterday to feed the family's horses.

She and 20-year-old son Josh are on bail after both being charged with perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Earth-moving machinery is being brought in to search for Tia's missing uniform and backback. Photo / News Corp Australia
Earth-moving machinery is being brought in to search for Tia's missing uniform and backback. Photo / News Corp Australia

Rick Thorburn remains under police guard in Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital after reportedly overdosing on pills and collapsing following his arrest on Tuesday charges of murder and interfering with a corpse.

The 56-year-old was yesterday moved from intensive care, where he had been placed in an induced coma, into the hospital's secure unit.

Police will allege he killed Tia, possibly by smothering, at the property to protect younger son Trent, 19, who allegedly had sex with the Marsden State High schoolgirl during the 10 months she spent in foster care with the family.

Trent Thorburn remains behind bars after being refused bail on Wednesday on charges of incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Beenleigh Magistrates Court heard he allegedly told a cousin on Facebook that he had sex with Tia and feared she was pregnant. The prosecutor told the court that Trent "abused his position as big brother".

Julene Thorburn, 54, appeared calm as she drove past the throng of media camped outside the property yesterday. She spent less than an hour tending the horses and collecting mail. On Wednesday, she was accompanied by Josh Thorburn but yesterday she was alone.

Julene and Josh Thorburn have been given notice to appear in Beenleigh Magistrates Court on October 10 on the charges of perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Trent Thorburn will reappear in court in November while Rick Thorburn's court hearing has been set down for December 21.

- The Courier-Mail

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