Police are continuing their investigation into a Melbourne toddler who was snatched from her pram with her body being discovered in a creek the next day.
Detectives spent Sunday scouring the crime scene at Heidelberg West were toddler Sanaya Sahib was last seen alive – retracing the steps of her mother, Sofina Nikat and searching the house where the mother and daughter had been staying.
Sofina Nikat, 22, told police her 15-month-old girl was snatched out of her pram at Olympic Park about 10am on Saturday. She described the man as smelling strongly of alcohol and not wearing any shoes.
She said was pushed to the ground by the man, who then ran off with her daughter towards a nearby shopping centre.
Ms Nikat immediately chased after the man, but when it became apparent she could not catch him, she raced home to alert police.
She didn’t see the suspect’s face, but described him as African in appearance, between 20 and 30 years old and about 1.8m tall.
The toddler’s body was found in Darebin Creek just before 3am on Sunday by a family of four, who had seen social media posts requesting help from volunteers to search for the toddler.
A Victorian Police spokeswoman told a media conference that no one has been arrested and the active investigation will continue today.
Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey appealed for anyone who saw the incident, the child or her blue and yellow pram to contact Police immediately.
“It is obviously extremely concerning for Victoria Police if this is a random abduction,” he told reporters. “We think it’s completely random at this point in time. We need to be careful and alert, given what’s taken place at this present time.”
It’s believed Sanaya and her mother, from Mitcham, were staying with family in Heidelberg West following a separation from the toddler’s father.
Both parents are said to be extremely distressed and are assisting Police with their investigation.
A post-mortem examination was due to be carried out last night.
Local residents paid tribute to the 15-month-old with flowers and teddy bears near where her body was found.
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