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Daniel Thomas
February 2001 - October 13,  2013
Find A Grave Memorial

Over ten years after he was reported missing, over ten years after dogs dragged his little bones from beneath a home where he lived in Australia, the murder of this precious Angel, Daniel Thomas, has never been solved. Life for Daniel didn't start out all that easy, before he was abused, Daniel had several health issues that included, Asthma, speech delay, an allergy to grass and severe Eczema which caused his limbs to have to be wrapped in bandages all the time. People who knew him said even with all of what he was going through, he was an energetic little boy who loved water and exploring the whole outdoors. People were upset when Mandy Martyn, the baby sitter that was hired to care for Daniel, reported him missing on October 17, 2003.



Donna Thomas, Daniel's mother, had always wanted to be a nurse and take care of other people, sadly, "other people" did not include her own child. Donna looked on while horrible things were done to her son. Donna had watched as the baby sitter, Mandy Martyn, tied him up, gagged him and hit him and then allegedly killed him. Donna loved to gamble and admitted that when police were looking for her son, she had been doing drugs and gambling with money she could have used to help find him. Jenny Greenwood, Daniel's cousin said that while her aunt was talking to her, she seemed numb:

"When Donna was telling me all the horrible things that had happened to Daniel, she was not crying
and did not appeared to be upset in any way. She was not showing any emotion at all"

After he was reported missing, Police began a search for Thomas, nothing was left unsearched and then finally it became clear that they should be looking for a body instead of a live little boy. Dogs would eventually be used and though they searched twice in the area where Daniel's body was eventually found, they did not find him.

Daniel's baby sitter was reported to have been a drug addict who lashed out at the press as well as the police after she became the prime suspect when a woman named Sheree Johnstone talked about the sickening treatment she had seen involving Daniel. According to Sheree, Mandy would cage Daniel between furniture in the home and yell at him that if he didn't stop moving she was going to put him under the house with the dogs. Mandy told police that she had seen Donna abusing Daniel at one point:

"When I opened the door, I couldn't believe what I saw. She had her hands around his throat, trying
to strangle him. He was grabbing her arms, kicking his legs. His little lips were blue"

The day that Daniel's bones were dragged out from under the house by dogs, Mandy was said to have stated that she had put his body there after Donna had killed him. It's so aggravating to me that so many people supposedly saw the abuse this Angel was suffering, yet none of them ever reported it, they just let him suffer and even be killed and still, keep their mouths shut. Mandy also told police that Donna and even her own mother were plotting against her in order to frame her for the murder of Daniel. A reward of $100,000.  was offered and even a year later, there were no arrests in the death of this child. In 2010, Police had a file called brief of evidence, but no charges would come out of it.

Daniel's biological father, Kevin Ruffels said that the prosecution was not filing charges because his son as well as Mandy, was Aboriginal. In the beginning, Kevin was hopeful that his son would be found alive:

"Until now, we've hoped they'd find him alive. But we are realizing it's probably unlikely"



Police were asking that an anonymous person who had called to report where the remains of Daniel were, to please call back. Daniel's sister, who was 14 years old, left the home of her mother to live with an Aunt when she decide she could no longer live with her mother. Donna seemed to have no interest in her daughter and the Aunt thought that after losing one child, she might want to be closer to her daughter, that was not the case.

Kevin only wanted to bury his son after waiting five years for him to be found, he had to wait an extra eight weeks to confirm though DNA that the bones were for sure, those of Daniel:

"The last five years have been a living hell and the past eight weeks have been terrible.
I thought the DNA testing would have been a lot quicker. But now that we know it is
definitely him, we can get some closure, we can move on and plan his funeral"

The next step in this long journey to find his son, would be to find who had murdered him and thrown him under the house:

"Police have to put the pieces together to finally put the cuffs on who is responsible and hopefully
they will be taken away in the next few days"

Sadly statements from Mandy's own children about her and Donna's treatment of Daniel, didn't warrant her arrest even on charges of child abuse. Mark, who was seven, Daniella, who was ten and Jacqueline, who was 12 at the time, told police that Mandy used to punish Daniel by giving him cold baths, tying him to his bed and not allowing him to get up, putting him in the cupboard with his arms and legs tied up so he could not get out and gagging him. At one point, the children said, he was locked under the house all night long with the dogs. With these children telling the truth this way, these women should have been in prison for a LONG time for what they did to this child.

Instead, Mandy Martyn lives in a Victorian Township with another child, her five year old daughter. Mandy lives the life of a recluse, according to those who live near her and when people try to interview her, she yells obscenities at them from the back yard. Donna lives in Wodonga and is said to have been circulating a petition for an inquest in to the death of her son. Donna claims that her sons death doesn't mean anything because he was Aboriginal:

"I've got no faith in the justice system at all. I think if Daniel was a white child, he would have
had his case solved years ago"

Guess what, Donna, his case WAS solved years ago, someone got away with murder and I am sure that I don't need to give you names. You didn't love your son, why now are you trying to make it appear that you did? Anyone who LOVES their child, would NEVER allow what was done to him and worse yet, would NEVER do what YOU did to him. Daniel is safe with God now and while I know He is a forgiving God, a person has to confess to what they did and they need to be sincere in being sorry for what they did. You will NEVER admit to your part in what happened, I wonder if you will get to see Daniel in the afterlife!

Today is March 14, 2014 and Daniel's case is considered a "Cold Case File".

UPDATE:

Today is June 16, 2014 and while searching for updates in Daniel's story, I found the following information:

In December of 2013, Mandy Martyn was reported as saying, at an inquest held before Coroner Jacinta Heffey, that she had put Daniel's body under the house, though she denied it later and said  she had stopped Donna Thomas from killing him and then discovered they were both gone the next morning:

"When I opened the door I was confronted by Donna, sitting on Daniel, strangling him.
The thumping I could hear were his little feet kicking and his arms thrashing around"

Donna denied what Mandy said, saying that she thought her son had died when she heard a thump in the bedroom at Mandy's house on October 13, 2003. She later said that she thought he was close to death when Mandy held his head under the water in a bath before she supposedly killed him. Mandy said that she had been a witness to Donna hurting Daniel, many times and that she had recorded some conversations stating that Donna had taken Daniel away as a plot against her.

On the second day of the inquest it came out that Mandy hold told several people she had buried Daniel, but she claims she was not the one to kill him or the last see him alive. Donna did finally admit that she abused her son, but said it was only because she was afraid of Mandy.

Detective Sgt. Russell Sheather said that Mandy had spoken to her drug and alcohol counselor and said that she saw Donna strangle and kill Daniel, but she had been the one to bury him under the house. Mandy had been recorded in 2007 saying that she put Daniel to bed on October 14, which was three days before she reported him missing and that when she woke up the next morning, Donna and Daniel were gone.

Mandy said that on October 14, Donna had been strangling Daniel and telling him she hated him, calling him names and saying her life would be better without him. Donna supposedly left the house the next day to go to parenting classes and Mandy went in to shock when she noticed that Daniel was also gone. Mandy claims that Donna called later in the day to see how Daniel was and she instantly thought that Donna was trying to set her up.

Donna originally testified that she had seen Daniel on the floor, not moving with towels around him after hearing a thump on October 13, 2007. At the inquest, she changed it to say that it must have been the same day she caught Mandy trying to drown her son. Donna denied trying to strangle him and knowing that he was dead.

Jennifer, a niece of Donna's, said that while Donna never really seemed to have any good parenting skills, she had never seen her abuse him. Donna had been staying with Jennifer in October from the 15th to the 17th and she said that Donna had not been willing to actually go and check on her son, but she went in to "hysterics" when she was told he was missing.

Sadly, after seven days of a coronial inquisition, Daniel's murder was not solved. Even with all of the details that were given about the abuse these women gave this little Angel, both denied they were his killer. Neither of these women has been arrested for the abuse they ADMIT they are guilty of, the torture they ADMIT they are guilty of. Someone got away with murder and for sure, insultingly to Daniel, TWO people admitted to his abuse and nothing was done.

UPDATE: April 17, 2014

On July 4, 2014, it was reported that Coroner Jacinta Heffey released her findings that Daniel was killed by Mandy Martyn and that Donna Thomas had contributed to his death by not intervening. Jacinta found that there had been no abuse prior to Mandy moving in to the home:

"I am satisfied that the principal player in respect of Daniel's mistreatment during the last seven
weeks of his life was Ms. Martyn. Ms. Thomas had told Police she was scared of Ms. Martyn.
There are many references in the Inquest Brief to witnesses describing Ms. Martyn as loud and
threatening. Witnesses also observed Ms. Thomas being subservient in the presence of Ms.
Martyn. Notwithstanding this, she remained under the same roof as someone who systematically
mistreated her own son and she was manifestly failed to protect or console him. She chose to do
nothing and allowed the abused to Daniel to continue. That is not to ignore the times Ms. Thomas
was also seen to smack Daniel"

Sergeant Stuart Baily said that the Police were reviewing the case and the evidence, that an active investigation was taking place to review if criminal charges could be brought:

"We'll do a thorough assessment and investigation and we'll see where that takes us"

Where it takes you? CLEARLY these women abused this child. CLEARLY he ended up dead as a result of that abuse and CLEARLY they deserve to rot in prison, never get out, spend the rest of their natural born lives in there.

Keven Ruffles, Daniel's father, was shocked to learn that Donna had been active in the abuse of their son, but he said he hoped that Mandy would rot in Hell:

"I hope she gets her right whack. Hopefully she gets sentenced to many
year in prison"


Victorian Children's Commissioner, Bernie Geary, said that this case put in to perspective the need for people to report what they see, if they suspect child abuse, they need to report it:

"You've got to be fair dinkum about making a notification. Don't just tell the person up the road and
think  your duty is done. Children trust adults and it behooves us to care for them"

Thank you goes to an anonymous person for sending me this update.

UPDATE: July 1, 2016 - Thank you Sloan for this update.

In January of 2015, a shocking verdict was released. The Victorian Office Of Public Prosecutions made a decicion that there was not enough evidence to charge Donna Thomas and Mandy Martyn with the death of Daniel Thomas.

I would like someone to explain to me how a child can be found under a home that he lived in and the women who were living with and abusing him. A coroner had previously said that Donna was partially responsible for failing to protect her son. The same coroner said that Mandy was the one who cause injuries to Daniel. So why on Earth is NO ONE paying for what happened to this child?

Homicide detectives submitted their evidence to the OPP in November of 2014 and it was reported that Victoria Police stated:

"We do not believe there is sufficient evidence to proceed
further at this time"

The investigation remains open, let's hope so and let's hope they take a closer look at the two women who, in my opinion, took the life of this beautiful little boy.
This page was created on March 13, 2014
Death occurred in Australia

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