MISSING: Once detectives started looking for Kaydence in late 2019, it took five months to find the missing two-year-old’s body. Pic: Supplied
MISSING: Once detectives started looking for Kaydence in late 2019, it took five months to find the missing two-year-old’s body. Pic: Supplied

Father of slain toddler was interrogated in jail

NOT knowing where his little girl was, or if she was okay, Robert Mills said his life was made a living hell when investigators interrogated him in jail over the disappearance of his daughter.

Missing since 2016, once detectives started looking for Kaydence Dawita Mills in late 2019, it took five months to locate the two-year-old's body.

Mr Mills' former partner and Kaydence's mother, Sinitta Tammy Dawita, 28, and her partner Tane Saul Destage, 40, were charged with murder, torture and interfering with the toddler's corpse on Monday, March 2, after her remains were found in a shallow grave at the Chinchilla Weir.

Serving a sentence at Lotus Glen Prison in far north Queensland for multiple driving offences, Mr Mills said his life was unbearable not knowing the whereabouts or wellbeing of his daughter Kaydence after investigators first made contact with him late last year.

Sentenced in October 2016, Mr Mills said he served five months for three counts of disqualified driving, and one breach of probation.

The Dalby Criminal Investigation Branch began visiting Mr Mills in prison, after Kaydence's disappearance first came to the attention of authorities in October-November, 2019.

By that time, Mr Mills had made repeated complaints and inquiries to Child safety about his daughter's wellbeing since 2016.

The investigation began after Kaydence's older sister spoke with a school guidance counsellor which prompted the backyard excavation of a Burbank St address in Chinchilla on December 3, 2019.

"They were originally ... ruling me out, and I gave them everything, I gave them my phone, every single thing and said 'please, I want to help'," he said.

"It's just hard keeping your patience and answering these questions when no one is giving you any feedback, they just keep probing and probing.

Mr Mills said he was haunted by the conversations he had had with the officers investigating his daughter's whereabouts.

"I locked myself in my cell for a lot of the time during the investigation because I didn't know where she was," Mr Mills said.

"I had a cell I hardy came out of, the screws from jail tried to get me out, my mates tried mucking around with me every day, 'you just don't get it man I don't want to muck around with you,' in jail you need to turn off a lot of feeling you have to survive.

"(Investigators) are telling me, 'we have grave concerns for your daughter, Robert', but they're not telling me whether she's dead or where she is.

"I couldn't believe when I finally got told about my daughter, what had happened to her ... that was March 3.

"(After) they told me I rang up Child safety and I said, 'look, I've been in jail ... every day wondering about the safety of my daughter. Everyday I've been wondering. Every minute of the day."

Mr Mills believes his multiple reports made to Child safety between 2016 and 2019 with concern for his daughter's welfare had fallen on deaf ears, because of his checkered history, and the colour of his daughters skin.

After being questioned regularly by detectives in prison, Mr Mills said he had been struggling mentally to come to terms with everything that has happened, especially how his little girl came to be "discarded like rubbish" found wrapped in a garbage bag in a shallow grave on the banks of the Condamine River.

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone about how they're feeling, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.