A female individual was discovered deceased at a school in downtown Sydney, with authorities labeling the situation as a disturbing scene while they seek out one of her male coworkers.
The authorities discovered the deceased woman in the restroom of the gymnasium at St. Andrew’s Cathedral school, located on Bathurst and Kent streets, shortly before midnight on Wednesday.
According to a family friend, the individual who was victimized is Lilie James, a young water polo coach at the school.
Her death is being treated as suspicious and detectives were investigating at the scene on Thursday morning.
The police are seeking to talk to Paul Thijssen, a staff member of St. Andrew’s, regarding the issue. Thijssen graduated from the school in 2017 and has been employed as a sports coach and after-hours coordinator.
He has gained a reputation within the school community.
According to Martin Fileman, a superintendent for NSW police, the woman was discovered with severe head injuries after authorities were contacted by a concerned individual.
The police officers who arrived at the scene found it to be quite alarming, according to the speaker.
Police discovered additional evidence related to the homicide at a second crime scene located at The Gap along the eastern coast of the city. This discovery was made simultaneously with the finding of the victim’s body.
Authorities were searching for Thijssen in that area, including the waters.
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Fileman stated that they are currently searching for a male individual in his early 20s who they believe can aid in the investigation.
“He is also on the school’s payroll. The police aviation team and marine area command are currently searching along the coastline near South Head, collaborating with other officers who are conducting a thorough search of the reserve.”
They have confirmed that they are not seeking other individuals and do not perceive a continued threat to the community.
Fileman stated that there was no evidence of domestic violence or AVOs existing between them.
The police were not familiar with the man.
In a statement, Daniel Makovec, a friend of the James family, expressed:
“During this difficult time, we kindly ask for privacy for the family. They have no further statements to make at this moment.”
The school will be closed for two days for all students except those taking year 12 exams following an “onsite death overnight”.
Based on her Facebook profile, James went to Danebank Anglican School for Girls in Hurstville, located in the southern part of Sydney.
After that, she went to the University of Technology Sydney.
According to a representative from St Andrew’s, there were no students involved in the incident and there is currently no danger. A section of the school, which is not accessible to students, has been deemed a crime scene. The school is waiting for police approval before allowing everyone to return to the premises.
Students are taking their exams in a different location and counselors are available for both students and parents.
According to Fileman, it was a sorrowful occasion for everyone. He expressed concern not just for the affected families, but also for the students who had to face this situation today.
Dr. Julie McGonigle, the head of the school, announced in an email to alumni on Thursday that a meeting with counselors and chaplains will take place on Friday.
She expressed her understanding that this update may cause a lot of distress and worry, and she is committed to helping our alumni community in any way possible.
“Let us continue to keep everyone involved in this situation in our prayers.”
Chris Minns, the premier, referred to it as a “terrible, terrible offense.”
“This is one of the worst situations I have encountered in my public life. I can only imagine the difficulties the family must be facing at this time,” he stated.
The St. Andrew’s community is known for being tightly-knit and compassionate, but they will need to rely on each other even more in the coming weeks as they will be facing difficulties and heartache as a result of recent events at the school.
He stated that the school could seek assistance from the government in finding alternative exam venues, if necessary.
The homicide squad from the state crime command, in collaboration with local law enforcement, is currently conducting an investigation as part of Strike Force Trineura.
On Thursday morning, they had a conversation with the principal and gathered evidence at the location, which included CCTV footage.