Australia's Queensland Police has announced a record one-million-dollar reward for the public to catch an Indian nurse who fled to India after allegedly murdering an Australian woman on a beach four years ago in 2018.
Toyah Cordingley, 24, was walking her dog on Wangetti Beach, 40km north of Cairns when she was killed in October 2018, Australia's 7news.com reported today.
Rajwinder Singh, 38, who worked as a nurse in Innisfail, is the key person of interest in the case but fled the country two days after Cordingley was killed, leaving behind his job, wife and three children in Australia, the report added.
Queensland Police is now offering 1 million Australian dollar, the largest ever offered by Queensland police, for information from the public in the ongoing search for Singh, with Detective Acting Superintendent Sonia Smith noting "the reward is unique".
"We know that Singh departed Cairns on October 22, the day after Toyah was murdered, and then flew from Sydney to India on the 23rd. His arrival in India has been confirmed," she was quoted as saying by Australia's 7news.com.
"We have confirmed today that the last known location for Singh was India." An investigation centre has also been established in Cairns and police officers from across the state who can speak both Hindi and Punjabi have been flown in, News.com reported.
These officers will be able to receive information from anyone in India who might know Singh's whereabouts via WhatsApp, the report added.
"We know that people know this person, they know where this person is and we're asking those people to do the right thing," Police Minister Mark Ryan told reporters today.
"This person is accused of a very heinous crime; a crime which has ripped a family apart." Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford said in a statement that this was the first time an initial reward of 1 million Australian dollar had been offered in Queensland.
"We are very grateful for the Government's support in approving this significant reward which we believe will assist us in tracking down Rajwinder Singh," she said.
"It is critical we capture the attention of an international audience to reach this individual.
"Police will not give up – we remain incredibly determined to find answers for Toyah's family and will do whatever we can to bring them closure." Cordingley's mother Vanessa Gardiner spoke on Thursday about the reward and her "beautiful, spiritual" daughter.
"Her life was taken way too early. I see her friends and stuff getting married with kids and that now and think of everything she has missed out on in her life," Gardiner said.
"She was just about to start her first full-time job on Monday, which never happened."
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