A crowd-funding page set up by the father of a five-year-old boy who was allegedly drowned by his mother is facing fierce abuse.
The young boy’s nine-year-old brother remains in a serious condition in a Melbourne hospital after he survived the incident in Moama, in the Riverina district of NSW, on Thursday.
Police allege the boys’ mother held her sons’ heads underwater, killing the younger boy, while the older boy escaped.
A GoFundMe page has been set up in the name of the boys’ father with the aim of raising $5000, reports SMH.
He said he was “desperately wanting to get to my boys but sadly am not in a situation where I can afford to get to them, any donations to help assist Me in getting a flight down to my sons would be greatly appreciated … ”
Critics have questioned the motives of the fundraising effort.
“16 hour drive mate, if you had left Friday, you’d be there already,” one person wrote on the page.
Another said she wouldn’t “donate my toenail clippings to you”.
“You didn’t bother about ever seeing your son in the time he was alive and now you need $5000 to go and say goodbye to him. That dear little boy needed a dad when he was alive … ”
One man commented: “Taking advantage of this tragic situation is abhorrent.”
On Facebook, the boy’s father later said a family member from Western Australia had “reached out and paid for a flight”. He said the GoFundMe money would go toward his surviving child “and my child I have to bury”.
Mother formally charged
The mother handed herself in to police at Echuca on the Victorian side of the river about 10pm on Thursday, police said.
The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has today been formally charged with murder.
The grandparents of the boys earlier said they were struggling to come to terms with the loss following the tragic incident last Thursday.
Police divers discovered the younger boy’s body in a section of the river near the town of Moama – in New South Wales near the Victorian border – about 11.35am on Saturday.
A lawyer for the boys’ grandparents, Dale Brooks, says the family was devastated, reports 9 news.
“They are simply heartbroken,” he said last night.
Mr Brooks said the grandparents had rallied behind their older grandson, who remains in a stable condition at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
He was injured after a dog tried to intervene in the alleged attack, allowing him to run off.
The woman did not appear via video-link as expected at the Deniliquin Local Court this morning. The magistrate also requested the accused undergo a psychiatric assessment.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said a full-scale investigation into how authorities handled the matter will be launched.
The mother is due back in court on May 2.
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