Charmaine Harris McLeod and her children Aaleyn, 6, Matilda, 5, Wyatt, 4 and Zaidok, 2, were all killed after the high-speed collision with a truck on the Bunya Highway at Kumbia, south of Kingaroy, just after 7pm on Monday.
Charmaine Harris McLeod and her children Aaleyn, 6, Matilda, 5, Wyatt, 4 and Zaidok, 2, were all killed after the high-speed collision with a truck on the Bunya Highway at Kumbia, south of Kingaroy, just after 7pm on Monday.

Note found close to crash that killed mother, four kids

A NOTE found after a mother and her four children were killed in a horrific head-on crash northwest of Brisbane this week has prompted detectives to treat their deaths as a murder-suicide.

In a tragic twist, The Courier-Mail has been told the note, which is believed to have been written by Charmaine Harris McLeod, was recovered by investigators about 200m from the crash scene.

This evidence, along with an absence of skid marks at the scene, resulted in homicide investigators and other specialist police being tasked to assist.

 

Wyatt, 4, Aaleyn, 6, Zaidok, 2 and Matilda, 5, were all killed after the high-speed collision with a truck.
Wyatt, 4, Aaleyn, 6, Zaidok, 2 and Matilda, 5, were all killed after the high-speed collision with a truck.

 

Ms Harris McLeod and her children Aaleyn, 6, Matilda, 5, Wyatt, 4 and Zaidok, 2, were all killed after the high-speed collision with a truck on the Bunya Highway at Kumbia, south of Kingaroy, just after 7pm on Monday.

Forensic crash investigators are still examining the circumstances of the tragedy and Ms Harris McLeod's ex-partner has also questioned why she was driving three hours away from her Hervey Bay home when there were no relatives in the area or nearby.

The Courier-Mail has also been told that the Department of Child Safety had some involvement with the family.

But the department has refused to comment on the situation, including whether there were any notifications relating to the family or how long it had been involved.

 

Charmaine McLeod is believed to have written a note that was recovered by investigators about 200m from the crash scene.
Charmaine McLeod is believed to have written a note that was recovered by investigators about 200m from the crash scene.

 

At this stage, the deaths have not been added to the national road toll.

"There (are) very specific rules about traffic crashes that occur when these … it's not intentional, in other words it's a straight crash," Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said.

"But there are very different rules - that's why we now have homicide detectives working on this case - where there is a potential that there was an intention for someone to die.

"This will take some time and obviously the coroner has a very great interest in the outcome of that investigation.

"But no matter what happened, no matter why it happened, it's a tragedy for all of those involved and the Queensland community."

When asked if the crash was being investigated by police as a homicide, Mr Stewart said "absolutely".

 

Charmaine McLeod and her four children were killed in the car crash near Kumbia.
Charmaine McLeod and her four children were killed in the car crash near Kumbia.

 

"Absolutely, we look at all angles, and all of that will come out in the wash," he said.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said it was a horribly sad and tragic case.

"To learn this family may have been well known to Child Safety will send shockwaves around Queensland," she said.

"The silence about this case from the Palaszczuk Labor government is disgraceful and speaks volumes.

"If this proves to be another Child Safety cover-up by the Labor Party, I will be demanding Annastacia Palaszczuk immediately sack her incompe-tent minister. There needs to be a full and transparent investigation - the safety of kids should always come first."

Police have said they were keeping open-minded in the investigation and would be thorough before preparing a report for the coroner.

 

The aftermath of the fatal crash near Kumbia. Picture: Annette Dew
The aftermath of the fatal crash near Kumbia. Picture: Annette Dew

 

When asked whether police had determined why Ms Harris McLeod was on the road at that time of night, Superintendent Dave Johnson earlier this week said "no".

He said police were looking at "all angles" of the investigation in trying to determine what caused the crash.

Ms Harris McLeod posted prolifically in online support groups about troubles in her life, including her relationship breakdown. She talked about feeling "lost and alone".

In one comment, she responded to a question about items she would rescue from a burning house.

"My children can't be replaced, so I would rescue my children first," she wrote.

"There's a lot of history to be honest. And we just want the police to do their job and to look into things and try to piece together what was actually happening," he said.

"Because nobody - no friends or rellies - had any idea what she was doing down there. We're just waiting. This is a real hard situation for us and it's just horrible.

"I don't want to assume anything. The police said just hang in there and be patient."

Lifeline: 13 11 14



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