Decorated scientist main suspect in baby death

The mother who police have listed as the main person of interest in relation to a suspicious child death can be revealed as a decorated medical researcher working for one of Queensland's most prestigious research institutes.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Sabita Neupane, 32, remains the focal point of a police investigation into the death of her five-month-old baby girl, who died under suspicious circumstances in the family's Annerley home last month. 

It can also be revealed the couple told police the baby's father, Sunil Srivastav, found the infant deceased in her cot on the morning of November 16, after Ms Neupane is said to have put the baby to bed on the evening of November 15. 

Sabita Neupane has been listed as the main person of interest as police investigate the death of her five-month baby.
Sabita Neupane has been listed as the main person of interest as police investigate the death of her five-month baby.


According to online profiles, Ms Neupane has a PhD in Cognitive Health Genomics and works for Mater Research as a science research assistant. 

She has also previously completed a Masters of Pharmacy at a Kathmandu University and has written several medical articles with a strong focus on brain function, while Mr Srivastav is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland's Brain Institute. 

The highly educated first-time parents had previously written medical research papers together.

The pair have been separated for individual police questioning on numerous occasions over the last six weeks after the November 16 death of their child.

The baby’s parents Sunil Srivastav and Sabita Neupane.
The baby’s parents Sunil Srivastav and Sabita Neupane.


About 8am that day, police say Ms Neupane called triple-0 to report her baby was unconscious and not breathing.

Despite paramedics' best efforts, the young girl could not be saved and was declared deceased at the home shortly after their arrival.

The baby had no sign of injury or trauma, and the family was not previously known to authorities.

The youngster's death was initially treated as a heartbreaking tragedy until medical evidence from autopsy and forensic pathology reports days later revealed the cause of death to be suspicious.

Detectives from the Child Protection Investigation Unit and specialist police from Crime and Intelligence Command's Child Trauma Unit would within days launch an investigation into the cause of the infant's death as they try to piece together the final hours of the little girl's short life.

 

CCTV from a Buranda shopping centre shows the mum and bub on November 15.
CCTV from a Buranda shopping centre shows the mum and bub on November 15.

 

Pictures: Supplied via Queensland Police Service
Pictures: Supplied via Queensland Police Service

In a bid for public assistance, police earlier this week released CCTV of the little girl's last public outing, taken at 5pm at the Buranda shopping centre on November 15.

The footage reveals the girl was "happy and healthy," said police.

"Someone knows something," Queensland Police Service Detective Inspector Rod Watts on Sunday.

"Between 5pm on the 15th of November and 8am on the 16th, something has happened to that child which is suspicious.

"Something happened between then and … when the baby was found unresponsive.

"As a result of investigations and now with medical evidence, we are now treating the death of this baby as suspicious."

Det Insp Watts said there was a "very small circle of people involved" and said the family are a "tight knit community family".

Sabita Neupane leaves Morningside Police Station on Sunday. Picture: News Corp/Attila Csaszar
Sabita Neupane leaves Morningside Police Station on Sunday. Picture: News Corp/Attila Csaszar

Ms Neupane was yesterday released from the Morningside police station without charge after she spent the day being questioned by detectives.

Anyone who spotted the family at the Buranda shops about 5pm on November 15 or up until about 8am on November 16 should contact police on 131 444.

Investigations continue.

Originally published as Decorated scientist main suspect in baby death



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