Police are investigating the circumstances that lead to the discovery of a 15-month-old baby girl's body in a suburban Melbourne creek on Sunday by searching homes and appealing for information.
The baby's mother Sofina Nikat, 22, reportedly told police a man of African appearance snatched the baby at Olympic Park in Heidelberg West on Saturday about 10am while they were out on a walk.
The man was described as being between 20 and 30, was not wearing shoes and smelled strongly of alcohol.
A full-scale search for toddler Sanaya Sahib kicked off on Saturday and police said volunteer searchers found the toddler's body in the nearby Darebin Creek at about 2.45am on Sunday.
Homicide Squad Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey said on Sunday a family with two children found the baby's body.
"The reason they were out looking at 2.45am in the morning is because they were also subjected to their child being lost some time ago," Bailey said in a press conference.
"Fortunately that child was discovered so they felt the need to have the community and assistance out there at that time trying to locate that child.
"They made this grisly discovery."
The park is the site of the 1956 Olympic Games, now parkland and stadiums.
The home where Nikat and her baby spent Friday night was searched for multiple hours by forensic detectives on Sunday, along with bins in an alley behind the street.
While investigations also continue at the park site, community members have left flowers and toys in a small memorial to the girl.
Police search for missing toddler who vanished from Heidelberg West park. Photo of search by Penny Stephens pic.twitter.com/P8Zvox2cgt— The Age Photography (@theage_photo) April 10, 2016
Nikat’s brother Habib Ali told the Herald Sun his niece was “an angel”.
"She was a very cute, a very good little girl,” Ali told the Herald Sun.
“She was an angel. Sanaya didn’t deserve what happened to her.
“I remember she was always a very happy child.
“The police say it is suspicious. It is up to them now. Her mother is devastated.”
Police are continuing to investigate and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.
Sen. Sgt. Bailey said: “This is obviously extremely concerning to Victorian Police if this is a random abduction”.Suggest a correction