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Tiahleigh Was Allegedly Killed To Protect Incestuous Secret

Logan schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer was allegedly murdered to keep secret an incestuous relationship with her foster brother.

According to The Courier Mail, police will allege that when her foster father discovered the relationship he killed Tiahleigh to protect his own son.

Yesterday police arrested 56-year-old Rick Thorburn, charging him with murder and interfering with a corpse.

His 19-year-old son Trent Thorburn was charged with incest, attempting to pervert the course of justice and perjury.

Photo: Trent Thorburn

Tiahleigh's foster father is expected to face a Queensland court today, despite being hospitalised after his arrest.

He was admitted to hospital Tuesday night with an undisclosed, non-life-threatening medical condition.

Thorburn’s condition improved overnight and he will either appear at the Beenleigh Magistrates Court or be subject to a bedside hearing on Wednesday, police say.

Thorburn’s wife, Julene and 20-year-old son Josh were also charged with perjury and preventing the course of justice.

This morning Tiahleigh’s mother, Cindy Palmer, arrived at Beenleigh Magistrates Court flanked by supporters wearing “justice for Tiahleigh” tshirts and purple – the young girl’s favourite colour.

Photo: Tiahleigh Palmer

Ms Palmer did not speak to waiting media as she walked into the courthouse but she is expected to release a statement later in the day.

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

A missing person alert was only issued six days later, hours before an unidentified body was found by three fishermen on the banks of the Pimpama River.

Her foster father was one of the pallbearers at her funeral and a registered foster carer at the time.

Police knew Tiahleigh was planning to meet someone on the morning she disappeared but the breakthrough in the case happened last week when they seized a blue Ford sedan for forensic examination.

The revelation that the car was previously owned by Tiahleigh's foster father came after her biological mother Cindy Palmer posted about it on Facebook.

Photo: Tiahleigh Palmer

The investigation was described by Det Insp Hansen as one of the most difficult cases he had ever worked on.

"It was a real 'whodunnit' type of investigation," he said.


October 30 - Tiahleigh is dropped off at Marsden State High School

November 5 - A missing person alert is issued hours before an unidentified body is found by fishermen on the banks of Pimpama River

November 7 - Body confirmed as Tiahleigh's, SES volunteers begin searching river

November 8 - Friends hold candlelight vigil

November 9 - Detectives question school friends

November 10 - River search resumes but police admit they have few answers; Queensland government vows to review response processes for missing children in state care

November 11 - Search upgraded to include land surrounding school

November 13 - Police set up Crime Stoppers marquee, believe Tiahleigh may have wagged classes

November 14 - Tiahleigh's funeral honours a "beautifully imperfect" girl

November 30 - Police divers return to search Pimpama River

December 4 - Search widened after Tiahleigh's shoe found; police release footage of classroom two days prior to disappearance


February 15 - $250,000 reward offered for information; more than 300 people contact Crime Stoppers

March 14 - Tiahleigh's biological mother Cindy makes public appeal to help find killer

March 23 - Police begin searching vacant house at Waterford West on Logan Reserve Road

July 11 - Queensland government announces new protocols on how authorities are to deal with children missing from out-of-home care in direct response to Tiahleigh's disappearance and murder

September 13 - Police seize a blue Ford Falcon XR6 they believe is linked to Tiahleigh's disappearance.

September 20 - Tiahleigh's foster father is charged with her murder; his wife and two males are also taken into custody.

Staff Writers with AAP; Photos: AAP

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