The police have ruled the incident a murder-suicide and early investigations have revealed a history of domestic violence between Henry Shepherdson and Kobi’s mother.
A man and his nine-month-old daughter died in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. It has been ruled as a murder-suicide, and the man has been identified as 38-year-old Henry Shepherdson and baby Kobi were from Adelaide’s western suburbs, reported 7 News. Shepherdson plunged to his death from the Whispering Wall reservoir with his baby strapped in a baby carrier. Witnesses who saw the man jump contacted emergency services. The man was found dead on the spot and the baby was unresponsive but was being helped by members of the public. Unfortunately, paramedics were unable to save the baby girl.
Assistant Commissioner Ian Parrott has said that early investigations have revealed a history of domestic violence between Shepherdson and Kobi’s mother. “Every relationship is a complex thing, particularly when there is also domestic violence involved in the relationship,” he said, according to The Australian. “And whilst I’m not at liberty to discuss the specifics of this particular situation, that will certainly form part of our investigation as to what was happening in the relationship and obviously, what was done prior to this particular incident." He added, “(But) we have a beautiful face, which could probably be the face of domestic violence moving forward.”
The couple had a custody arrangement and Sheperdson had lawful access to his daughter. Although no one is being sought over the deaths, there were court processes in place. “The baby was not taken … but certainly the mother did contact Triple-0- as well,” Parrott said. “My understanding is there was a very short time frame between the public notifying us of the incident having occurred and Kobi’s mother making contact.” The mother has not released a statement but has wished for privacy during this difficult time. She has only released photographs of her sweet daughter, according to a statement by South Australia Police Department.
As for the witnesses who saw the incidents unfold, the commissioner confirmed that they will be receiving support and assistance. "Thank you to those members of the public who assisted ... no-one likes to see kids suffering, the bravery the compassion that those people showed to help Kobi at the time is immeasurable," he said praising their efforts and added, "To respond the way they did is amazing." He went on to say, "This is something that none of us want to experience ever ... the way that police and other emergency services have responded is extremely professional and I'm proud of what they've done."
The popular tourist attraction was given the name Whispering Wall since words whispered on one side can be clearly heard on the other side that is more than 100 meters away. There are fences running on both sides of the walking path along the dam. The reservoir remains closed. Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the incident and according to 9 News said, "My response is one of profound sorrow. Like it would be for all Australians. These are horrific and sadly they're not the first of these sorts of terrible and awful events that have taken place." He added, "It is truly awful," and stated that the government's efforts to end violence against women would continue.
Cover Image Source: South Australia Police Department press release