The mother of a 20-month-old girl has been named as a suspect in her murder by police today, Tuesday.
Police have named Angela Whitworth as the mother of a baby girl who was found dead in Bicester last week as they confirm they are investigating the death as murder.
Senior investigating officer, detective chief inspector Ian Hunter, said he was dealing with a significant, complex, and challenging investigation as they search for the 40-year-old, who is believed to have fled to Kenya.
Police were called by Sarah’s father, Nabil Dahane, on the morning of Thursday, May 16, after her mother failed to present her for a prearranged access visit.
Officers later forced entry to the property in Herald Way, Glory Farm in Bicester, and discovered Sarah’s body.
Post mortem tests have still not revealed the cause of death, but DCI Hunter said there were no obvious signs of trauma.
CCTV and flight records indicate Ms Whitworth boarded a plane to Kenya at Heathrow on Wednesday evening.
He is now working with the Crown Prosecution Service, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Interpol.
DCI Hunter said: “We are investigating this incident as a murder, however I have retained an open mind and at this time I can’t exclude accident or natural causes contributing to Sarah’s death.
“Sarah Dahane was a healthy, thriving and well nourished child who was found dead with no obvious signs of trauma.
“This is a detailed and thorough investigation to establish the truth and identify the exact circumstances into how and why Sarah died.”
DCI Hunter said Ms Whitworth and Sarah’s father Nabil Dahane had been involved in an ongoing custody battle over their daughter, but despite three calls to police over the last three years related to verbal arguments, there was no indication of violence between the two.
It is believed the family had been living in Herald Way for around 10 years and Ms Whitworth worked in the caring sector.
DCI Hunter said it seemed the family had kept to themselves and appealed to anyone who knew them to contact police to help build a background to the case. Speak to police on 101.
A spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council said: “The county council was not in contact with the family of Sarah Dahane in the months leading up to this tragic incident, but did previously have limited involvement which ended in June 2012.
“We cannot comment further except to say that we will be supporting the police with their enquiries in any way that we can.”