Queensland crash mum was target of child-welfare probe before she killed herself and kids
Charmaine Harris McLeod wears the smile of a happy mum, but mental-health issues boiled behind that sunny smile. Photo: Facebook
A Queensland woman suspected of driving head-on into a truck in a bid to kill herself and her four young children had posted on Facebook that Child Safety officials were investigating the family.
Police are now treating the death of Charmaine Harris McLeod, 35, and her children Aaleyn, 6, Matilda, 5, Wyatt, 4 and Zaidok, 2, as a murder-suicide.
The family perished in a head-on collision with a truck near Kingaroy on Monday.
Charmaine Harris McLeod complained on Facebook of being under investigation by child-welfare officers. Photo: ABC
According to The Sunday Mail, Ms McLeod posted in a Facebook group last December that she had been struggling with “significant mental health issues” and “now Child Safety are involved”.
A note, believed to have been written by McLeod, was found near the scene by investigators.
The death of any child known to the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women is examined by the independent Child Death Case Review Panel as part of a two-tiered review process.
The children’s distraught father James McLeod, estranged from his wife, has described his last visit with his kids, who he says were beautiful souls and were loved by everyone who knew them.
He told the Courier Mail on Wednesday his youngest son Zaidok had said he loved him for the first time only recently.
“Young Zaidok – he was just a little adventurer. A loving and kind kid,” Mr McLeod said.
“The last supervised visitation I had with them, not last Saturday but the Saturday beforehand, he actually said that he loves me, ‘daddy’, to me. Just out of the blue.
“He was developing well and he was loved by all. Such an amazing little boy.
“They were beautiful, intelligent, bright, smart kids.”
Brisbane’s Courier-Mail newspaper reported on Saturday that police were investigating whether the Kingaroy crash was a murder-suicide.
The four siblings were killed along with their mother Charmaine Harris McLeod near Kumbia in Queensland on Monday. Photo: Facebook
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said on Friday they have not been added to the official road toll because there is a possibility the crash was not an accident.
“There are very different rules, and that’s why we now have homicide detectives working on this case, where there is a potential that there is an intention for someone to die,” he said.
“This will take some time.”
Ms McLeod and three of the children died at the scene. One of the girls was pulled from the car alive but died on a rescue flight bound for Brisbane.
The truck driver was also injured but managed to free himself as the blaze spread to the surrounding grass.
Police said on Monday Ms McLeod was trying to overtake when her car slammed into the truck, which was travelling in the opposite direction.
They also called for any dashcam footage to help them piece together exactly what happened.
Twelve other people have been killed on Queensland’s roads during the past week in a horror streak before their annual safety initiative on Friday.
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