A man has been charged with murder after a child was found dead in a barrel in Australian bushland.
The victim is believed to be a nine-year-old girl who went missing last week from a property in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, police said.
Her disappearance sparked a massive search that ended on Tuesday when officers discovered the child’s body near a river in a neighbouring area.
Police said a 31-year-old man had been arrested in a flat in inner Sydney.
He faced a court on Wednesday but did not enter a plea on a murder charge or apply for bail. His next hearing will be in March.
The girl – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – was on holiday with her mother when she disappeared last Thursday. She was reported missing the next morning.
Over the next five days, police officers, firefighters and State Emergency Service volunteers scoured dense terrain in the area for clues.
Meanwhile more than 200 officers conducted an investigation that identified the suspect and “anomalies” in his movements, according to New South Wales Police.
“That has been quite a laborious task in analysing GPS data, analysing CCTV footage and leading us to search the location we searched last night,” Deputy Commissioner David Hudson said on Wednesday.