TRAGIC LOSS: School girl Tiahleigh Palmer (left)  lived a happy two years with Gympie foster mother Julie Pemberton (right) before she was murdered by Rick Thorburn in her new Logan foster home.
TRAGIC LOSS: School girl Tiahleigh Palmer (left) lived a happy two years with Gympie foster mother Julie Pemberton (right) before she was murdered by Rick Thorburn in her new Logan foster home. Contributed

REVEALED: Tiahleigh Palmer lived with Gympie foster mum

TIAHLEIGH Palmer lived with a former Gympie foster family before moving in with the Logan family that subjected her to sexual abuse and then horrific, cold blooded murder.

From life with a troubled mother who had spent time in and out of jail, the pre-teen girl had been in and out of foster homes from the age of seven before she settled with former Gympie foster carer Julie Pemberton for almost three years in Logan.

Tiahleigh was due to return to Ms Pemberton the day before she was murdered, close family friend Leah Chandler said.

Despite arriving at Ms Pemberton's talking about how quickly she could get rid of carers, Tiahleigh was welcomed into her new home with a birthday party and a pink bedroom done up by Ms Pemberton's daughters, the Daily Mail reported this week.

MORE: How Julene Thorburn betrayed Tiahleigh Palmer

Ms Pemberton and her family soon fell in love with Tia, who Ms Pemberton described as a gorgeous girl with a mind of her own with a lovely spirit.

"Tiahleigh was a wild horse - you might have been able to tame her but could never have broke her. She had a lovely spirit that kid," she told Daily Mail Australia.

"She was no angel but no child is. She was my devil. She was Tia and I wouldn't want her any other way."

 

Tia's former Gympie carer Julie Pemberton expressed regret that she couldn't take the girl back into her care. Source: Channel 9
Tia's former Gympie carer Julie Pemberton expressed regret that she couldn't take the girl back into her care. Source: Channel 9 Channel 9

Ms Pemberton said Tia had a lot of issues and had, before settling with her, lived "a very screwed up life in the foster system."

"A lot of people didn't appreciate her; they took offence. But she was only a kid," she said.

Ms Pemberton said Tiahleigh's mother, Cyndi Palmer, who had maintained a relationship with her daughter, had been attempting to gain custody of her after turning her life around.

"Tia loved her mum dearly and Cyndi adored her girl," Ms Pemberton said.

But in January 2015, when Ms Pemberton decided to stop acting as a foster carer, Tiahleigh was sent to live with the Thorburns, in a secluded Chambers Flat property that was home to horses and surrounded by strawberry farms at Logan.

MORE ON RICK THORBURN: Tiahleigh's killer had long rap sheet

Her new foster parents were Rick and Julene Thorburn, a truck driver and family day care operator, and their teenage sons Trent and Josh.

It was there the 12-year-old spent nine months living a family disgrace, running away 10 times within that time, Ms Pemberton said.

The behaviour masked a dark secret.

 

Tiahleigh Palmer
Tiahleigh Palmer Contributed

Tiahleigh was being incestuously abused by her foster brother, Trent Thorburn, 18, and when the family became worried he had impregnated the 12-year-old, her father "took care of the problem".

Thorburn murdered Tiahleigh in the house on October 30, dumping her body in the Pimpama River afterwoods.

When her body was discovered six days later, the family members became ensnared in the web of lies they had spun to protect themselves from their heinous crimes.

The sickening facade unravelled when secret police recordings, disturbing confessions and chilling Facebook messages showed the lengths the Thorburns had taken to remain undetected.

The day Ms Pemberton heard they had found a body in the river that could have been Tiahleigh's, she said she felt so sick she instantly threw up.

RELATED: Tia lived and died in the care of a savage

 

Rick Thorburn is escorted by police from the Logan Central Police Station in relation to the death of 12 year old Logan school girl Tiahleigh Palmer.
Rick Thorburn is escorted by police from the Logan Central Police Station in relation to the death of 12 year old Logan school girl Tiahleigh Palmer. DAVE HUNT

Ms Pemberton said she knew Tia was unhappy in her new home, and profoundly regretted that she couldn't get her back the next week.

She said she was a 'beautiful spirit' who loved dancing but hated sport and was a Home and Away and Neighbours fan.

"It should never have ended like this. She didn't deserve this," she said after her death.

"I hope to God she didn't suffer."

Rick Thorburn was sentenced to life in prison last Friday for Tiahleigh's murder and interfering with a corpse.

Julene and Josh Thorburn were convicted and jailed for their part in the cover-up after her murder.

Trent Thorburn was convicted of incest.

 

The murder of 12-year-old Tiahleigh Palmer shocked and devastated the Logan community.
The murder of 12-year-old Tiahleigh Palmer shocked and devastated the Logan community. Contributed
Gympie Times


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