The battered body of 11-year-old Celeste Pearson was found in the bathroom of the family’s Auchenflower penthouse by police who had been called to the apartment to conduct a welfare check.
Police arrived at the Dunmore Trace address shortly before 2 a.m. to find Celeste dead and her mother, 49-year-old Chiaki Pearson, missing. Another daughter, 8, had been staying with a friend.
Celeste’s father, property developer Chris Pearson, was asleep in the penthouse’s living area when police arrived.
Later that morning, locals discovered Mrs. Pearson’s body in nearby Benson St, Toowong, at the base of a crane. Both her house and her car have been declared a crime scene.
Detective Superintendent Geoff Sheldon said police wanted to speak to anyone who saw Mrs. Pearson – a Japanese-born woman – and her white 2007 Nissan Tiida sedan between 11:30 p.m. on Monday night and the early hours of Tuesday.
He said Mr. Pearson had spent the day with police helping them better understand the “family dynamic.”
“Our inquiries have concentrated on speaking with the father,” he said.
“If you know any of the family yourself … we’d be keen to hear what you can tell us that might fit together with that piece of information we’re looking for.”
Police confirmed they had been to the house in the past six months at Mrs. Pearson’s request following accusations of domestic violence.
A handful of mourners arrived at the Auchenflower property yesterday to lay flowers in tearful tributes for the mother and daughter.
One woman, who declined to give her name, described Mrs. Pearson as “the loveliest person.”
“She really just does everything for everyone,” the woman said. “I’m very upset.”
Students of Milton State School, where Celeste attended, were in mourning for their classmate yesterday. Principal Paul Zernike said the community was in deep shock and sadness.
“She was an enthusiastic, high-achieving and friendly young child who will be greatly missed by all her friends and teacher,” he said in a statement. “Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the family, caregivers, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.
“Support is being provided to students and staff, and guidance counselors will remain at the school to provide support,” he added.
A girl, who said she was the best friend of the 11-year-old, described her as “a beautiful person” after she lay a small, pink teddy bear with some flowers outside the unit block.
Meanwhile, a friend of Mr. Pearson said the man had “a big heart” and loved his children dearly.
Police are still searching the family home.