Melbourne community grieves death of abducted toddler

Melbourne community grieves death of abducted toddler

Melbourne community grieves death of abducted toddler

Written by Staff Writer

11 Apr, 2016 | 7:12 pm

A shrine of flowers and tributes continues to grow for the young Melbourne girl found dead in a creek after being snatched from her pram.

The body of 15-month-old Sanaya Sahib was found partially submerged in Darebin Creek in Heidelberg West early Sunday morning, around 17 hours after her mother said she was snatched from her pram in nearby Olympic Park.

Her uncle today told of the “grief and shock” his family had felt since the discovery of Sanaya’s body.

He urged neighbours and the public to be vigilant, and to come forward if they have any information. Forensic investigators and homicide detectives last night spent four hours combing the Heidelberg West property Sanaya had been staying before she was abducted.

Police also scoured the area for CCTV footage, with cameras in Olympic Park set to form a key part of the investigation as they are still searching for the man believed to have snatched Sanaya from her 22-year-old mother Sofina Nikat and fled.

Ms Nikat told police she had pushed Sanaya in a blue and yellow pram along Perth Street, onto Liberty Parade and into Olympic Park before the abduction. She said a man passed her and then turned to push her to the ground from behind before grabbing Sanaya from the pram and running away through the park.

It is believed the man ran over a foot bridge towards the Northland shopping centre and possibly towards Wood Street. Ms Nikat fled to her brother’s house to raise the alarm. Ms Nikat, from the Melbourne suburb of Mitcham, told police she had been staying with friends in Heidelberg West after recently separating from the child’s father.

Sanaya’s uncle said Ms Nikat arrived home screaming “somebody took my child, somebody took my child”. The alleged abductor has been described as dark skinned and possibly of African heritage, six-feet-tall, between 20 and 30 years old, with short dark hair.

He was wearing black pants, a black hooded jumper, no shoes and smelt strongly of alcohol.

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