Two bodies lay thousands of kilometres apart – one, a two-year-old girl in a suitcase on the side of the highway in South Australia, the other, a twenty-year-old woman left lying next to a log in the Belanglo State Forest. No one was looking for them. No one even knew they were missing.
When the body of the little girl was finally discovered, seven years after she was killed, police knew she must have a mother somewhere out there. They looked to the body found in Belanglo, and found the little girl’s mother. Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and Khandalyce Pearce had their names back, and now the police just had to discover who killed them – and who had spend the previous five years stealing thousands of dollars from Karlie’s bank account, and using her phone to pretend to her family that she was still alive.
Please be warned that this episode contains descriptions of violence against children.
When a body was found in the Belanglo State Forest on August 29, 2010, speculation was rife that the Backpacker Murderer Ivan Milat had more victims. Milat was ruled out, however, and the body of the young woman would lie in the morgue, unidentified, nicknamed the Belanglo Angel.
Years later, the body of a child was found, over a thousand kilometres away in Wynarka, Western Australia. This poor little girl would also remain unidentified, until a tip from Crime Stoppers gave her her name back. She was Khandalyce Pearce, and police would uncover that she was the daughter of the Belanglo Angel, Karlie Pearce-Stevenson.
Police were determined to bring to justice whatever lowlife had left a mother and a daughter to rot in the woods alone, a thousand miles apart from each other. They found Karlie’s ex-boyfriend, a man named Daniel James Holdom, who had stolen up to $100,000 of Karlie’s welfare benefits over a period of around five years, who also just happened to be a convicted child molestor.
This case is still ongoing, so please watch out for a future update.
There is no book written about this case yet, so your best way of getting information is to read the archives of your favourite Australian newspaper. Here’s a few links to get you started.
Websleuths is the world’s most popular true crime forum, and it is full of crazy housewives who have too much time on their hands, but they are great for information consolidation. You can find an amazing archive of news article to do with the case here https://www.websleuths.com/forums/threads/aus-khandalyce-kiara-pearce-wynarka-and-mum-karli-media-timeline-no-discussion.292447/#post12113814
You can also read the threads on Karlie and Khandalyce here https://www.websleuths.com/forums/threads/aus-khandalyce-kiara-pearce-wynarka-and-mum-karlie-pearce-stevenson-belanglo-1.293028/#post12131123
You can read every media release the South Australian police gave about the case here https://www.police.sa.gov.au/sa-police-news-assets/murray-mallee-local-service-area/task-force-mallee#.W6cIXvaubIX
To read a good overview of the case, up until the bodies were identified, this article here is good https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/little-girl-lost-trying-to-identify-the-nameless-victim-of-wynarkas-homicide-20150923-gjt1ah.html. Also the first article to put forward the link between the girl in the suitcase and the Belanglo Angel.
To read about the identity theft aspect of the case, go here https://www.news.com.au/national/crime/belanglo-murder-karlie-pearcestevensons-killer-stole-90000-by-assuming-her-identity/news-story/79f4f11a92fa3e1914a643b55f43b0fd