A Mildura man has been charged with the murder of an 11-year-old girl in Wangaratta, in Victoria’s north-east.
A party was held at the girl’s home on Saturday night and she was found dead in the morning.
The 29-year-old man has been charged with three offences, including murder and the sexual penetration of a child under 16.
He will face an out-of-sessions remand hearing in Wangaratta before appearing at the town’s Magistrates Court today.
The man has been in custody in Wangaratta Hospital’s psychiatric ward after he was picked up by officers on an unrelated matter when he was reported behaving erratically and walking along the Hume Highway at 6:00am on Sunday.
On Wednesday, the girl’s family thanked police and the local community for their “extraordinary support”.
“Zoe’s family would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Wangaratta Police, the homicide squad and paramedics who attended the scene,” the family said in a statement.
“Their continuing support during this terrible time in our lives has just been extraordinary.”
The community held a candlelight vigil for Zoe on Tuesday night.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to those who organised and attended the candlelight vigil at the park that Zoe always enjoyed playing at,” the family’s statement said.
“We are so very touched and thankful for all the personal messages and tributes and for the concern which has been shown for the wellbeing of the family.”
The family asked for their complete privacy to grieve privately over their “beautiful little girl”.