A community in Australia has been left in shatters after an eight-year-old boy was allegedly murdered by his mother in a home on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula on Thursday, March 8.
Joanne Finch, 41, was charged with one count of murder in an out-of-sessions court hearing on Friday, March 9, after her son Brodie Moran was found dead inside a Tootgarook home.
Sources allegedly told the Herald Sun that Finch made the call to emergency services but when they arrived, Brodie could not be rescued. She appeared calm and articulate and allegedly told officers that she heard voices in her head and Brodie’s death was the result of a “momentary lapse in reason,” reported the newspaper.
On Friday, the court heard Finch was taking anti-depressant medication, reported 9News.
Police are now investigating whether suffocation was the cause of Brodie’s death.
Members of the Mornington Peninsula community were shocked upon hearing about the death of the boy they described as a “happy child.” Neighbours, Brodie’s schoolmates, and other members of the community paid tribute to the eight-year-old on Friday by leaving flowers, cards and toys in a makeshift shrine outside his home.
“I’ve seen the mother with the child, trick or treating, you know … [a] normal family,” neighbour Carly Wood told the news station.
“He was always a happy child,” another neighbour told the news station.
“We’d wave hello as we were collecting the bins. They’d always say hello back.”
“I’m grandmother, I’ve got kids myself, I’ve got a grandson,” another neighbour Antoinette Berugini told Fairfax.
“You can imagine if they came to me and say to me ‘your grandchild died. And not because they’re sick.’
“Absolutely horrible. I couldn’t even think of how can someone actually do something like that,” she added.
The principal of Tootgarook Primary School, where Brodie attended, issued a statement calling the death a “tragic event.” Many of Brodie’s schoolmates were saddened by the loss of their “generous” friend, reported 9News.
“I was friends with him, I talked to him every day,” schoolmate Alicia told the news station.
“He was amazing, he was very nice … Just so generous,” she said.
Brodie’s father Lee Moran, who is estranged from Finch and lives in Shanghai, China, wrote on social media: “I have lost the best part of me.”
“At the moment I feel so empty, still in shock. Words cannot describe how much I love and miss my little fella,” Moran wrote.
One of Finch’s last posts on social media has received a slew of criticism from members of the public for the uncanny foreshadowing of her own family’s tragedy.
Finch shared the post titled “A mother who admitted to bashing her baby daughter…” which links to a Change.org petition calling for a retrial of Lorien Norman who “admitted to bashing her baby daughter before threatening to throw her battered body off a balcony” in November last year.
Many social media users left comments on that post to express their outrage about Brodie’s death.
However, some social media users warned others about making judgments about the case, raising concerns about mental health.
Residents in the area told 9News that Brodie lived at home with his mother and an unnamed man. Police said the man is not a person of interest in the investigations.
Finch has been remanded in custody until June 29.