I am guilty of being the typical true crime fan. I like a nicely finished story, wrapped in a bow and given to me with an ending I can be happy with. True crime fills a need deep within people; order restored after great chaos. Sure, there are murderers and enraged ex’s and dangerous strangers who lurk in the shadows, but in the stories I read (and write) there is always justice served in some form.
This article is different.
I am stepping outside of my own comfort zone, and the comfort zone of readers. This is a recent murder, of a 24-year-old woman who was just taking her dog for a walk. She is just one of many women murdered every year in Australia, but unlike the stories of Eurydice Dixon and Jill Maher, we are not looking at this case in hindsight, we are in it right now. This is happening as we speak, and every one of us has the ability to help in any way we can. This is the unsolved story of Toyah Cordingley.
Wangetti Beach, Queensland, Australia. October 22, 2018.
Toyah Cordingley’s lifeless body was found on the dunes of Wangetti Beach. The unfortunate discovery was made by her father, Troy. Her mother had found her “larger than average” dog, Jersey, a Great Dane, German Shepard and Mastiff mix not long before that. Jersey had been tied to a tree in a way that made it difficult for the dog to sit. However uncomfortable, he was safe. Toyah was not.
Toyah was a lively, animal loving free spirit who worked for animal organisation called Paws and Claws, as well as holding a job at Wholehealth Pharmacy and Healthfoods. She was last seen at Rusty’s Markets on Sunday, October 21, it is believed she was shopping there between 12pm and 1pm. She then made her way home, and took Jersey for a walk along Wangetti Beach, halfway between Cairns and Port Douglas, around 2.30pm. But in broad daylight, the bright-eyed 24-year-old with her whole life in front of her disappeared into the dunes. The ocean waves crashing into the sand was the backing track of her final moments, she fought the whole time. At 11pm her family reported her missing.
Months before Toyah’s murder, she posted a screenshot of a tweet with the words;
“I can only imagine the rage and fear women feel to see women die doing everyday mundane things like walking home, like they do, only to then be told it’s their fault and that they need to be more careful. Stop blaming women. Make men the issue”.
The words ring true throughout the world, women are murdered doing the mundane by strange men who feel entitled to their lives. It was hard to swallow the fact that someone who was so aware of the world she lived in, would become a victim to it too.
Wangetti Beach is not a popular spot. You would notice another person on the beach with you. Police mentioned early on that there had been reports of naked men causing trouble on the beach, and that there was a history of vagrants, hard-drug use and sexual deviancy on the shores of Wangetti. All these things considered, how is it that a girl with an unusually large dog can be murdered on the beach, buried in the sand and no one sees a thing?
Investigation so far.
Police have appealed to local women who have been harassed by men in the area in the last two years. They have also obtained dash cam footage from cars that were in the area on the day of Toyah’s disappearance and subsequent murder. They haven’t released much in regards to the nature of the murder but we know it was violent and Toyah fought back. There were ‘violent and visible’ injuries on her body. We also know that it was potentially sexually motivated, so they are looking for a male attacker. It appears to be a crime of opportunity, with Toyah having no known enemies or strange relationships.
I believe it was yet another case of a man who believed he could take what he wanted and didn’t care what it took to get it.
There were reports of a suspect who had fled to India, but police have condemned the reports stating they are potentially damaging to the person in question and the investigation itself.
Where do we go from here?
Videos and multiple photos of Toyah are available on the internet. If you or someone you know lives in the Cairns area, please make sure to share any of the articles I will post below in hopes that someone will know something. Many people have already come forward but no main suspects have been named yet. I hate that there is no end, I hate that I have nothing to give you but a set of information and a little bit of hope. But that’s all we have in this world.
If you or someone you know has information on the murder of Toyah Cordingley, please call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.