Murder victim remembered as ‘pure soul’ who adored animals
YOUNG animal lover Toyah Cordingley is being remembered as "the most beautiful, loving soul" as police launch a murder investigation into the 24-year-old's death.
Ms Cordingley's body was found at Wangetti Beach this morning after worried family and friends took to social media yesterday in an attempt to find her.
She disappeared after taking her dog, which was later found unharmed, for a walk on Sunday afternoon.
Port Douglas Councillor Michael Kerr employed Ms Cordingley at his animal shelter Paws and Claws for more than a year and said he was devastated to hear news of her death.
"She was the most beautiful, loving soul. I knew her and her housemate when she was working for me," Cr Kerr said.
"I was querying the details (of her disappearance) on Facebook before sharing (the post).
"She was an absolutely loyal employee of Paws and Claws. She was one of the most beautiful souls. It's tragic.
"She adored animals, she was on a different level with animals, than humans. She had something special with animals. Even the troubled dogs would calm down in her presence."
Cr Kerr also expressed shock at a murder happening in the quiet, beachside suburb.
"You wouldn't think of anything like that happening in Wangetti," he said.
"There are a lot of a******* in the world, but when something like this happens to someone who is one of the most purest, beautiful people, it's awful."
Detective Senior Sergeant Ed Kinbacher said Ms Cordingley drove to the beach between 2pm and 2.30pm yesterday to walk her dog.
He said anyone who saw anything suspicious yesterday or this morning should contact police.
"She was 800m north of the southern access point, and there are only two access points at Wangetti," he said.
"She was between the foreshore and the start of bushland.
"This is not a highly frequented area. People notice each other at Wangetti Beach."
He said any information would help the case.
"No young woman should go to the beach to walk their dog and have this happen to them," he said.
"It's a quiet beach. I'm not aware of any historical problems with this area.
"Anyone who has had any concerns about people they've seen on the beach in recent months, please come forward."
Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said the tragic incident had rocked the community.
"This is really shocking news. These types of incidents can really rock our quiet tropical paradise," she said.
"Our shire is traditionally a very safe and welcoming tourism destination so the thought of something like this happening in our own backyard is deeply distressing.
"I send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim.
"I can't begin to imagine what they are going through."
Anyone who may have been in or passed through the Wangetti Beach area on Sunday, or anyone with information, is urged to contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.
Wangetti Beach is about 38km north of Cairns, halfway between Port Douglas and Palm Cove.