Just two weeks ago, Charlie – dressed in a baby pink tracksuit and wide-brimmed hat – posed for a photo at her family home, leaning over with her eyes closed.
It was the last photo of the six-year-old ever taken before the little girl was found unresponsive at her family’s Housing Commission home in Munno Para, in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, in the early hours of Friday morning.
His tragic death – which was officially recorded as malnutrition – sparked a major police investigation into crimes and led to his five siblings being taken into state care as their mother is investigated for criminal negligence.
Now sources have told The Advertiser that Charlie has been diagnosed with celiac disease, a serious immune disorder in which the digestive system reacts to gluten.
Pictured: The last known photo of Charlie taken two weeks ago
The reaction causes damage to the small intestine which can prevent the absorption of certain nutrients, leading to deficiencies.
Neighbors say Charlie’s mother is “distraught” over the death of her youngest child.
“She saw her child die…any mother who went through this would be traumatized, scared, confused and just heartbroken that her child, her baby that she carried for nine months, is gone,” one said. Wednesday.
It comes after revelations on Tuesday that authorities allowed Charlie to stay home despite his exposure to drug addiction and domestic violence.
Court documents show the family was already known to at least three government agencies, including the Department of Child Protection.
In January last year, Charlie and his siblings watched as their ‘drug fueled’ father stabbed their mother multiple times – including in the neck – at their home.
But despite the children witnessing the horrific attack — and their father’s history of domestic violence and drug use — authorities did not deport them.
Neighbors say Charlie’s mother (pictured) is ‘distraught’ over her daughter’s death
Charlie (pictured) was taken to Lyell McEwin Hospital in the early hours of Friday morning in North Adelaide
Neighbors say they contacted the department eight times over a three-week period before Charlie died, with the agency apparently having more than 500 case notes relating to the little girl.
They believe the department is responsible for Charlie’s death for not taking action.
“It wasn’t her (Charlie’s mother), it was the state that failed,” one said.
“We don’t blame her for what happened to Charlie…she needed help and the DCP (Department of Child Protection) did nothing to support her in the way she needed. assistance.”
Outside the house on Tuesday, Charlie’s aunt – wearing a pink hoodie with a slogan that read “but are you dead?” #mumlife’ – blasted the media when asked how the six-year-old’s mother was feeling.
Charlie (pictured) died on the floor of her mother’s house in an alleged case of criminal negligence
Charlie’s aunt arrived that afternoon, wearing a pink hoodie with a slogan that read, “But are you dead?” #mumlife (photo, left)
‘How do you think she feels? Her daughter just died in her arms! Of course she’s upset.
A neighbour, Bec, told Daily Mail Australia the girl’s mother raised the alarm late at night, leading her to do everything she could to try to save Charlie’s life.
“It was around 1 a.m. and we were about to go to bed, and we heard a knock on the door. Charlie’s mother was screaming ‘Charlie don’t breathe!’ so we ran there.
“She was on the floor in a diaper and she was white as paper… and when I touched her she was stone cold and her eyes were open and staring at the ceiling.
“We did everything to try to make Charlie breathe.”
Paramedics arrived soon after and worked on Charlie for half an hour, but the six-year-old was pronounced dead in hospital.
Asked about the cause of death, Bec said she didn’t know if she had choked or if there were any health issues that no one knew about.
However, she noted that no one saw Charlie in the last weeks of her life as she suffered from a mysterious illness.
The house Charlie died in was surrounded by rubbish – old toys, a tent, bicycles and a disused freezer
The cause of death is still unknown, but a neighbor said Charlie had something in her throat when she died (family home, pictured)
She also said the girl and her siblings never looked healthy. They often had head lice, which Bec did his best to help.
“After a while, she came less and less, and then she wasn’t allowed to come and play with my two-year-old daughter, and she wasn’t allowed to leave the house,” said Beak.
Bec remembered Charlie as a “beautiful” shy girl, but always smiling and carrying a pink teddy bear.
Eighteen months ago police were also called to the home after Charlie’s father attacked his mother, his partner of 18 years, during a fight while high on methylamphetamine .
At a sentencing hearing in February, the court heard he had been a habitual drug user for many years and, after quitting for a while, had relapsed the night of the attack.
The fight started in the bedroom before moving to the front yard, where the mother was stabbed three times.
“It (the attack) happened in front of the house and was seen by at least one civilian, who had to pull the defendant away from the victim not once, but twice,” a prosecutor told the court district.
Pictured: The front of the house Charlie died in, which has a single swing in front
Debris, including an old mattress, bedding and an unused hutch, was seen strewn around the yard of the house on Tuesday
“If it had not been removed, there is no doubt that far more serious consequences could have ensued.”
The prosecutor told the court that the mother wanted to return to her partner despite the stab wounds.
“I think it would be fair to say that the victim probably lacks insight into preserving his own safety,” the prosecutor said.
“I can tell you that the Department of Child Protection has an interest in this case and if the defendant were to return to this house, I would expect the Department to become involved again.”
The father was first charged with attempted murder before pleading guilty to the downgraded offense of intentionally causing harm.
He was sentenced in March this year to five years and six months in prison with a period without parole of three years and six months.
Investigators will now investigate other interactions they had with the family in the years leading up to Charlie’s death.
South African Deputy Police Commissioner Linda Williams said the six-year-old’s living conditions were “poor” and said it was too early to assess whether her death could have been prevented.
The grass was overgrown and the yard littered with children’s toys and sundries
She couldn’t confirm the last time Charlie had been seen or even attended school.
A special task force has been formed to investigate his death and the circumstances that caused it.
Task Force Prime will investigate possible charges of criminal negligence involving his five siblings living in the same house.
Acting Prime Minister Susan Close said a government review would investigate interactions between Charlie’s family and state social services, child protection, education and housing agencies.
The chief executive of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Office will determine which services have been engaged, how they have worked together, how effective they have been and what changes might be needed.
Child Protection Minister Katrine Hildyard said these were ‘absolutely tragic and heartbreaking circumstances’ and offered her condolences to Charlie’s family.