‘Distressing’: Family of boy found dead on bus speak out
THE uncle of a three-year-old boy who was allegedly left to die on a Cairns daycare bus has spoken out, telling of his family's "distress" and thanking the community for its support.
The man, who wanted to only be known as Nick, said they could not reveal the boy's name for cultural reasons, but said he was a "big part of a very close-knit family" who were trying to support each other through the trauma.
The boy's body was found on board the bus belonging to Goodstart Early Learning's Edmonton centre last Tuesday and police have alleged he had been on board for more than six hours.
The daycare's centre director and bus driver Michael Glenn Lewis, 45, and an employee Dionne Batrice Grills, 34, appeared in the Cairns Magistrates Court yesterday charged with manslaughter.
Both were granted bail.
Reading from a statement Nick, who was supported by three other family members, said the boy's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family, who have links to Bamaga and Townsville, were now grieving and in Sorry Business.
"As you can imagine, the sudden loss of our little boy has been distressing for the family," he said.
"It has left many of us with the difficult task of trying to come to terms with his loss.
"He was a three-year-old boy who was deeply connected to his siblings, his peers and older children, and he played a big part in a very close-knit family.
"At present our families are working through a very difficult time in our lives by supporting, encouraging and looking out for each other."
He described the incident as "unprecedented" and acknowledged it had affected the whole community.
"That's been demonstrated by the support our families have received and we'd like to thank everyone for their help, their love and their prayers," he said.
"From an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective and culturally speaking, our family is now in Sorry Business. As a family we'll work through that process."
Nick also thanked police and asked for privacy for the family.