Man charged with slaying of girl whose body was found in a suitcase

SYDNEY, Australia - A man accused of killing a woman whose bones were found in a forest was charged on Tuesday with the slaying of the woman's 2-year-old daughter, whose body was discovered dumped in a suitcase 1,200 kilometres away from her mother's remains.

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Daniel Holdom, 41, was charged with the murder of Khandalyce Pearce, whose body was found on the side of a road in South Australia earlier this year, New South Wales police said.

The charges come two months after Holdom was charged with the murder of Khandalyce's mother, 20-year-old Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson, and seven years after police say the pair were killed at different times and in different locations.

Police believe Holdom killed the little girl days after killing her mother, Superintendent Mick Willing told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday. Both suffered "violent deaths," he said.

Holdom's lawyer did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Holdom, who has been in jail since the charges related to Pearce-Stevenson were filed, did not appear at a brief court hearing Tuesday and was formally refused bail.

Pearce-Stevenson's bones were found in 2010 in the Belanglo State Forest, about 150 kilometres south of Sydney. Khandalyce's body was discovered in July after a driver spotted the suitcase dumped on the side of a highway near the small South Australia town of Wynarka.

The identities of both bodies had long stumped police until they received a tip on a crime prevention hotline in October. The caller suggested the girl in the suitcase might be Khandalyce, who left with her single mother from their Outback hometown of Alice Springs in 2008 to travel.

DNA tests confirmed the remains were indeed Khandalyce's. Police then used blood samples from the medical records of Pearce-Stevenson to identify her remains.

Holdom was arrested one week later and charged with Pearce-Stevenson's death.

Police have previously said that fraudsters used Pearce-Stevenson's cellphone for three years after her death to make family and friends believe she was still alive. They allegedly convinced Pearce-Stevenson's mother to deposit money into her bank account, which continued to receive government benefits.


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