How cops cracked abandoned baby case
THE lead detectives tasked to find baby Baden Bond say they will never truly know how the little boy died, and always hoped he would be found alive.
In an exclusive interview with The Courier-Mail, Detective Sergeant Sue Scott and Detective Senior Constable Deborah Wilson said seeing a photograph of Baden every day of the investigation into his disappearance spurred them to discover truth about the baby's death.
Baden's father, Shane Simpson, 51, this week confessed to leaving the defenceless child on a park bench in Eagleby in May 2007, saying he became tired of caring for him.
He said he drove away and didn't even look back, leaving Baden only metres from the Logan River.
Simpson was yesterday sentenced by the Brisbane Supreme Court to 12 years' jail.
He will serve more than nine years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.
Baden's mother Dina Bond pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and helping Simpson cover up his actions by lying to friends, family and authorities for a decade.
She was sentenced to three years' jail and was released on parole, after serving almost two years on remand.
A two-year investigation into Baden's disappearance began after a family member reported the child missing several years after he was abandoned.
Bond and Simpson had for years claimed the boy was travelling with his grandfather, taken into care or with other family members.
"They did well with the lies they told … Sadly, it's not uncommon for these types of families to have children put into care, so family members would just accept that story," Det Snr Const Wilson said.
Det Sgt Scott said the early investigation centred around proving the parents' dishonesty by sifting through thousands of archived documents.
"We ran it (the investigation) out until we had no proof of life of Baden," she said.
Both women, who have been in the job more than a decade, said they had honed the art of emotionally detaching from a case but that the image of baby Baden had touched them.
"You walk into the office and see this little face, this little baby that no one could actually tell us where he was, that becomes your motivation to continue on doing what you're doing, to make sure every single avenue is explored," Det Sgt Scott said.
Both officers told The Courier-Mail despite Simpson's lies about Baden's whereabouts, they did believe the baby was abandoned in a park.
"I think the version he gave is very close to what happened," Det Snr Const Wilson said.
Detective Sgt Scott said the pair would never know how the boy met his tragic end.
"It's one of those things we have to come to terms with, that we probably won't ever find him, the odds are certainly very much stacked against that ever happening in any way," she said.
In sentencing, Justice Peter Applegarth yesterday said Simpson's decision to abandon Baden alone in the park at dusk, only 50m from a river "practically invited a tragic end to his life".
"Baden did not need to be abandoned," he said
"But if he was to be abandoned, he might have been abandoned in a hospital foyer, in a shopping mall, in the precincts of a preschool during the day … Even abandoning him beside the main street of Beenleigh would have given him a better chance of survival."
Justice Applegarth said the fact Simpson did not return to the scene in the hours after leaving the baby made his crime more serious.
"You did not turn around 10 minutes later or return to the area that night," he said.
"You went home and got on with your life …
"You then spent a decade deceiving family and friends about his whereabouts."
Homicide Group Detective Inspector Damien Hansen said, outside court, Baden was robbed not only of his life but his childhood.
"What I would hope is that Simpson thinks long and hard about this while he is serving his sentence, have a bit of remorse, and bring some closure for the family so we can give Baden a proper burial," he said.