Slain schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster father has been charged with her murder. The 56-year-old was arrested on Tuesday, while his wife and two other men also have been taken into custody.

Liana Walker reports


Rick Thorburn was one of four people taken into custody on Tuesday morning, nearly a year after the 12-year-old’s body was found on the banks of the Pimpama River.

Two other men, aged 19 and 20, and Tiahleigh’s 54-year-old foster mother Julene were taken in for questioning.

The development came a week after a vehicle was seized in relation to the homicide of the Queensland schoolgirl.

Detective Inspector Damien Hansen, Queensland Police: “It’s possibly been one of the most difficult investigations that I’ve been involved with.”

Tiahleigh was last seen alive on October 30 when she was dropped off at Marsden State High School.

Detective Inspector Damien Hansen, Queensland Police: “I’d rather be standing here and Tiah not … not in this position and Tiah still be alive.”

The arrests came shortly after police confirmed Tiahleigh’s foster father was the former owner of the seized car.

Detective Inspector Damien Hansen, Qld Police: “It’s a tragic event that has occurred. I’m very pleased with how the investigation has gone.”

Rick Thorburn will appear in Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Liana Walker, QUT News