Toyah Cordingley was murdered while walking her dog on Wangetti Beach,
Toyah Cordingley was murdered while walking her dog on Wangetti Beach,

Toyah person of interest ‘behaving strangely’

RAJWINDER Singh was behaving strangely before he vanished overseas the day after the murder of Toyah Cordingley.

But he's not responsible for her death, his family says.

The Innisfail enrolled nurse of almost seven years - a person of interest in the high-profile police murder investigation - showed signs of a troubled mind.

He left behind his wife, two young children and a baby and his full-time job at Innisfail hospital - and has made no contact since.

His family yesterday told how he flew out to his hometown of Amritsar in Punjab, India, on the day Toyah's body was found seven weeks ago.

Rajwinder Singh.
Rajwinder Singh.

They listed him as a missing person but he is believed to be living in a village near Anoopgarh on the remote north-west Pakistani/Indian border.

Queensland homicide detectives and Australian Federal Police are liaising with Indian law enforcement bodies to track him down.

"Raj is not capable of murder,'' his brother-in-law Harpreet Singh exclusively told The Courier-Mail at the family home in Innisfail.

"He is too quiet, too afraid. He was under a lot of tension from his work.

"But if he is guilty, we are yet to see any evidence to prove it."

The Indian nurse had become troubled by his work treating elderly patients dying in hospital, Mr Singh said.

He'd disappear from home for days - spending long hours at secluded tropical beaches - and he stopped speaking.

But the timing of his disappearance and booking a flight to India the day Toyah was killed at Wangetti Beach, 40km north of Cairns, was coincidental, Mr Singh said.

"He was always going to the beach, he'd go to the beaches near here or up north of Cairns.

Police investigating the murder of Toyah Cordingley raided this Innisfail house.
Police investigating the murder of Toyah Cordingley raided this Innisfail house.

He was mentally upset and liked to go away from here."

In the week before Toyah's murder Mr Singh said his brother-in-law had disappeared from home for three days with no contact, leading his worried family to make a missing persons report.

Ms Cordingley, a beloved 24-year-old "beautiful soul", a pharmacy assistant and animal welfare volunteer, was killed walking her dog on Wangetti Beach about 2.30pm on Sunday, October 21.

Her heartbroken father Troy found the dog tied up and her slain body "messed up" with "visible and violent injuries", buried in sand early the next day.

It is understood police have tracked the Indian nurse's mobile phone and identified his car as being in the same location as the murder scene.

His car was captured on CCTV security cameras driving erratically in Cairns in the hours after the murder before he allegedly returned home to Innisfail and booked an international flight that night.

The carpark where Toyah Cordingley’s car was parked. Picture: Stewart McLean
The carpark where Toyah Cordingley’s car was parked. Picture: Stewart McLean

Forensic police are working to get a DNA match taken from Toyah's body - she fought for her life and it is believed left scratch and bite marks on her attacker - to catch her killer.

"Police told us they have no evidence that Raj killed her, but he is a person of interest,'' Mr Singh said.

Four weeks ago a police taskforce raided the family home in Innisfail, cordoning it off as a crime scene, and seized personal items.

Innisfail's Indian community, with many multi-generational Sikh families in the district, is deeply shaken by the latest development as some rallied in support of the wife and children yesterday.

"We live in a small community,'' Mr Singh said.

"How can we live with this, with this suspicion, when we have no answers?"

Police have been tight-lipped about the top-level line of inquiry as emotions run high with tens of thousands of people rallying behind a campaign to Honour Toyah and bring her killer to justice.



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