Murder Investigation Over Bicester Death

21 May 2013, 11:46 | Updated: 21 May 2013, 13:32

Police say the death of a toddler found in Bicester last week is now being treated as murder.

But Thames Valley Police also say they're keeping an 'open-mind' about how Sarah Dahane died. Officers say her mother, 40-year-old Angela Whitworth is wanted on suspicion of her murder.

Officers found Sarah's body after forcing their their way into the home in Herald Way, Glory Farm on Thursday (16/5) after being contacted by a the 20-month-old's father. 

He became concerned as Sarah hadn't been presented at an agreed meeting point on thursday morning.

A post mortem examination on the body came back inconclusive and more tests are being carried out to determine how she died.

Police say Sarah Dahane was a healthy, thriving and well-nourished child who was found dead with no obvious signs of trauma.

There were ongoing legal proceedings regarding custody of Sarah between her mother and father.

Sarah Dahane

Senior Investigating Officer, Det Ch Insp Ian Hunter said: "From information available to us at this time, it would appear Sarah’s mother has left the UK at some stage during Wednesday (15/5) evening. 

"She is believed to have travelled to Kenya. Her exact whereabouts are unknown and we are working with other authorities to establish her exact location.

"While we are working with those individuals and authorities that were in contact with both Sarah and her mother prior to her death, we urgently wish to speak to Sarah’s mother to better understand exactly what has happened. We strongly urge her to present herself to the authorities."

Thames Valley Police is working with law enforcement agencies, the foreign commonwealth office and interpol, and the CPS to further the investigation.

The detective added police had records in 2011 and 2012 of three phone calls being received from either Mr Dahane or Ms Whitworth reporting arguments between them. But none of the calls were received in the last year, he confirmed. 

It is understood Ms Whitworth and Mr Dahane had split during the pregnancy and that proceedings over the custody of Sarah were ongoing with a court hearing scheduled for next month.