FOR KAYDENCE: Members of the public have paid tribute to Kaydence Hazel Mills with a shrine at the Chinchilla Weir. Pic: Supplied
FOR KAYDENCE: Members of the public have paid tribute to Kaydence Hazel Mills with a shrine at the Chinchilla Weir. Pic: Supplied

One year since shocking backyard dig shocked Chinchilla community

IT HAS been one year since a dark cloud blanketed Chinchilla, as detectives began excavating the backyard of a home in search of a little girl no one knew was missing.

It was a sickly hot Wednesday morning on December 3, 2019, when police lined Burbank St, before they taped off a home, and used a cadaver dog to search for the body of missing toddler, Kaydence Hazel Mills.

BACK YARD DIG: Investigators excavating the back yard of the Burbank St Address in Chinchilla. Pic: Peta McEachern
BACK YARD DIG: Investigators excavating the back yard of the Burbank St Address in Chinchilla. Pic: Peta McEachern

Investigators searched the address, before taking two days to excavate a small shed in the backyard of the family home - as well as draining a water tank .

At the time of the backyard dig, police continually said they would not comment on what was happening as it involved a ‘child protection matter”.

BACK YARD DIG: Investigators excavated waste deep into a shed in the backyard. Pic: Peta McEachern
BACK YARD DIG: Investigators excavated waste deep into a shed in the backyard. Pic: Peta McEachern

The backyard investigation began not long after Kaydence’s older sister spoke with a school guidance counsellor, raising alarm bells for the toddler's welfare.

After being missing for almost three years, it was three months later that the forever two-year-old’s fragile body was discovered in a shallow grave, discarded in a black garbage bag at the Chinchilla Weir.

The little girl’s father, Robert Mills, said that detail is one of many that will haunt him for the rest of his days on this earth.

REST IN PEACE: Robert Mills laid his daughter to rest in Tully on September 4, 2020. Pic: Supplied
REST IN PEACE: Robert Mills laid his daughter to rest in Tully on September 4, 2020. Pic: Supplied

The toddler who would have turned five this year, was properly laid to rest in Tully, on September 4, two hours from where she was born at Cairns Hospital into a broken family, and broken system.

As Kaydence was a child who spent time while Child Safety before being handed back to one of her alleged killers in 2016, Mr Mills said the system failed her grossly.

Mr Mills revealed that multiple reports he made to Child safety, between 2016 and 2019 with concern for his daughter’s welfare had fallen on deaf ears.

In custody and awaiting trial, Kaydence’s mother, Sinitta Tammy Dawita, 28, and her partner Tane Saul Destage, 40, were charged with murder, torture and interfering with the toddler’s corpse on Monday, March 2, after her remains were found.

The pair’s last mention in court was on November 10, with a duty lawyer, telling the Dalby Magistrates Court time was needed to consider the “huge” brief of evidence that had been collected by the prosecution.

As justice continues to be sought for Kaydence, the court case will next be mentioned next on January 27, 2021.