Wangetti Beach is a notorious mobile phone black spot, say locals. Picture: Stewart McLean
Wangetti Beach is a notorious mobile phone black spot, say locals. Picture: Stewart McLean

Murder victim had no hope of phoning for help

WANGETTI Beach murder victim Toyah Cordingley was unable to make any desperate call for help to triple-0 because she was in a mobile phone black spot.

Detectives are trawling for clues to establish if the 24-year-old had her mobile phone and tried to contact the emergency hotline before she was killed.

It comes as police are taking DNA swabs from residents and illegal campers in the ongoing full-scale manhunt for her killer.

Her body was found with visible and violent injuries in sand dunes on Wangetti Beach, halfway between Port Douglas and Cairns, in north Queensland early Monday.

Police are searching for "missing personal items" as they work to piece together her final moments before she was killed walking her dog on the secluded beach in broad daylight sometime after 2pm on Sunday.

Toyah Cordingley was known well for her rapport with animals. She spent more than a year volunteering at Paws and Claws at Port Douglas. Picture: Paws and Claws
Toyah Cordingley was known well for her rapport with animals. She spent more than a year volunteering at Paws and Claws at Port Douglas. Picture: Paws and Claws

Lead investigators are yet to publicly confirm if the Cairns pharmacy worker and animal rescue volunteer was walking alone at the beach, if her large pet dog was found tied-up, or if she was sexually violated.

Owner of the famous Hartley's Crocodile Adventures at Wangetti, Angela Freeman, said frustrated residents knew the area as a notorious mobile phone black spot.

"Even if Toyah had her phone, and was in fear of her life, there is no signal, and she would not have been able to make an emergency call for help," she said.

"To us, that black spot only adds to the tragedy.

"This place is not a den of evil… This is a beautiful and serene part of the world but a grave tragedy has taken place that has left us all deeply unnerved."

A police spokesman said the "DNA testing and swabbing of people by consent in the local area was routine in serious investigations".

"If you've got nothing to hide, most people are fine,'' he said.

Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu told how it was "extremely chilling to think a murderer is out there".

"This is a disgusting, horrific and fatal act of violence against a young woman who was enjoying what so many people do on a daily basis - walk along our beautiful beaches.

She said the people of the shire wouldn't feel safe until the killer was caught.

Police are searching for clues in Toyah Cordingley’s murder case. Picture: Facebook
Police are searching for clues in Toyah Cordingley’s murder case. Picture: Facebook

Heartfelt tributes to Ms Cordingley on Facebook come as her grieving family struggles to come to terms with her loss.

"You radiated sunshine wherever you went. You were the purest soul, free spirited and kind," her cousin Rachelle Foss wrote.

"You were always an inspiration to me with how selfless you were and the amazing volunteer work you did.

"I'm so glad the last time I saw you we were dancing the night away and sitting on your kitchen floor eating vegan sausage rolls and reminiscing about when we were kids …"

"I know you are safe now. I love you so much."

Police have fielded more than 160 calls to CrimeStoppers and would like to speak to anyone that saw Ms Cordingley at Rusty's Market in Cairns on Sunday, October 21 between midday and 1pm.

They are also hope to obtain dashcam footage from the Captain Cook Highway at Wangetti Beach on Sunday, October 21, and anyone who used the northern or southern Wangetti Beach carparks.

Family, friends, acquaintances or work colleagues of Ms Cordingley who haven't spoken to the police are also asked to make contact with them.

Anyone with information about Toyah Cordingley should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

Wangetti Beach is a notorious mobile phone black spot, say locals. Picture: Stewart McLean
Wangetti Beach is a notorious mobile phone black spot, say locals. Picture: Stewart McLean