'Murder by neglect': How cops allege mum killed baby


A woman charged with the murder of her eight-month-old baby boy has made no application for bail in Ipswich Magistrates Court.

Natalie Jade Whitehead, 34, did not appear in court on Thursday.

She has been charged with the murder of her son Dexter as well as interfering with a corpse and failing to provide the necessities of life.

The murder is alleged to have occurred in June, 2019 at an address in Sonter Street, Raceview, a suburb of Ipswich.

Her case has been adjourned until January 27 at Brisbane's Magistrates Court.

Ms Whitehead's lawyer Bettina Webb said her client was "shocked" by the charges and would plead not guilty.

Detectives will allege Dexter was neglected for "days" before he eventually died.

"I can confirm that as of this morning, a 34-year-old female has been charged with murder in relation to the deceased eight-month-old child and has also been charged with interfering with a corpse as well as failing to provide the necessities of life," Detective Inspector David Briese told reporters on Wednesday.

"There have been a number of medical tests and pathology reports, we will be alleging that the cause of death was as a result of neglect," Queensland Police Service Detective Inspector David Briese said.

Police allege nine-month-old Dexter died after neglect over “a number of days”.
Police allege nine-month-old Dexter died after neglect over “a number of days”.

A 41-year-old Bellbowrie man, who police say was the partner of Whitehead at the time Dexter was found deceased by paramedics, also lived at the home with Whitehead.

Insp Briese urged the man to contact police. He has not been listed as a suspect by police.

"We're appealing for him to come forward, we would like to speak to him further and are appealing for his assistance," he said.

Whitehead was also charged with interfering with a corpse and fail to supply the necessities of life in relation to young Dexter.

The 18-month-long investigation, headed by detectives from the Ipswich Child Protection Unit and State Crime Command's Child Trauma Unit remains ongoing, but Det Insp Briese said yesterday's arrest was the result of a meticulous and thorough investigative process.

"As you can understand in such matters where it involves children, we, like everyone, would like to have it solved quickly and to be wrapped up, but we have to be meticulous and step through everything, including medical reports and medical testing."

He would not comment on if the family were known to the Department of Child Safety.

In February of this year the State Government passed laws to establish the Queensland Child Death Review Board, which would have "the capacity to look at retrospective cases".

"In cases where a child is known to the department, a systems and procedures investigation is undertaken," a spokesman for Child Safety told The Courier-Mail earlier this year.

"(It) will now include agencies such as police, health and education if they have been involved in the child's welfare in the previous year."

Whitehead has also been charged with one count of unlawful possession of a category R weapon after a torch taser was located at the house by police.

This charge is unrelated to the death of the child.

Whitehead will appear in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on Thursday, while police urge anyone with relevant information, including the 41-year-old Bellbowrie man, to come forward.

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