10.35AM: Babysitter Mandy Martyn killed Myrtleford toddler Daniel Thomas, a coronial inquest has found.
Coroner Jacinta Heffey this morning handed down her finding in relation to the death of Daniel in 2003.
He had been in the care of Ms Martyn at her Standish Street home at the time he disappeared when his mother Donna Thomas was visiting Shepparton.
“I found his death was caused by Mandy Martyn in that she inflicted the injuries that led to his death,” Ms Heffey told the Melbourne Coroner’s Court in a finding which was relayed to Wangaratta Court.
“I find that his mother contributed to the death by her inaction and failure to heed to the needs of her son.”
She could not say exactly when Daniel died after he had been left with Ms Martyn.
Ms Thomas and Daniel’s father Kevin Ruffels were in the Melbourne court to hear the finding which followed an inquest at Wangaratta last December.
Ms Thomas sobbed in the front row as Ms Heffey outlined her finding which came after seven days of evidence.
The death of Daniel has been one of the North East’s biggest mysteries with a multitude of emergency service personnel searching for the toddler after he was reported missing on October 17, 2003.
His remains were found five years later by a dog under a house in Lawrence Street, Myrtleford, where Ms Thomas lived before moving in with Ms Martyn.
The inquest heard how he suffered abuse at the hands of Ms Martyn and Ms Thomas, who claimed she was scared of the babysitter.