A memorial service was held on Wednesday evening, commemorating two years since Toyah Cordingley’s body was found on Wangetti Beach. Sunshine yellow flowers and ribbons heralded a moving tribute to a young woman whose passion and selflessness touched many hearts and lives.
Toyah Cordingley, 24, was walking her partner Marco’s dog on Wangetti Beach, north of Cairns, on October 21, 2018. By 11:00pm , she had not returned home, and she was reported missing by her worried family. With her last movements tracked to Wangetti Beach, family, friends and search crews descended on the beach. Early the next morning, Toyah’s mother, Vanessa Gardiner, found Toyah’s dog, unharmed, on the beach. Soon after, Toyah’s father, Troy Cordingley, discovered Toyah’s body with “visible and violent injuries” partly buried in sand dunes.
Two years on, no one has been charged with her murder, despite tremendous community effort, and an extensive police investigation. Media reports revealed that Innifail-based father-of-three and nurse, Rajwinder Singh, was identified as a key person of interest, but he reportedly flew to India the day Toyah’s body was found. He has not been heard of since.
Family friends, Kerri Bos and David “Prong” Trimble, helped organise Wednesday’s memorial. This was an opportunity to come together in solidarity, and to honour Toyah’s “shining light”. The afternoon launched with the screening of a new documentary dedicated to Toyah at Ellis Beach Bar & Grill. Film maker, Tony Gordon, has produced a touching tribute to the young woman described as “beautiful” and “caring”. Attendees then made their way to Wangetti Beach for a memorial service.
Toyah’s mum, Vanessa, bravely spoke to the public. She acknowledged her ongoing anguish, and her appreciation for the love and support of the broader community. Two years after Toyah’s murder, those close to her, vow to continue their appeal for information for as long as it takes. “Justice will come. It may take time, but it will not bring her back, “Toyah’s father, Troy Cordingley.
To salute her dear friend, Port Douglas woman, Kerri Bos came up with the idea of “Toyah travel stones”, which are now found all around the world. . The “travel stones” are designed for people to ‘take Toyah’ with them on their travels, leaving the stones in special destinations. There are more than 2300 of them scattered around the world to date..
More than 350,000 “Toyah” bumper stickers are out on the roads, while a 12,000-strong Facebook group honours Toyah, as a forum for sharing memories and messages.
Such community love fittingly honours the passionate and generous spirit of a young woman whose life was savagely taken from her, and a family swallowed by unfathomable grief.
Queensland Police have released a statement to coincide with the second anniversary of Toyah’s murder. They assure the community that she is not forgotten, and that they continue to fight for justice for Toyah and her family.
Toyah’s legacy is much more than an unsolved local murder case. Despite unanswered questions and overwhelming grief, Toyah is in our hearts, thoughts and our lives. Toyah is not forgotten, and never will be.
Toyah has become a symbol for each of us to stand up against violence, to protect the innocent, to remain steadfast, and to never ever give up.
Anyone with information relating to Toyah’s death is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a report online. You may remain anonymous.