The father of the toddler found dead in a Mildura home yesterday says he is heartbroken his "little angel" is gone.
Two-year-old Nikki Francis-Coslovich's body was found in a Oram Court home yesterday by police about two hours after she was reported missing.
Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Anderson of Mildura crime investigation unit said police were called to an Oram Court house yesterday afternoon in response to a report of a missing girl.
“In a subsequent extensive search of the area … we’ve located a deceased 2½-year-old,” he said.
“Police are investigating at this stage and we’re trying to determine the exact circumstances of what’s happened.”
Homicide squad detectives are investigating the death.
Nikki was last seen alive about noon yesterday and police issued a plea for public assistance about 3.45pm, but the girl was found dead about 5.30pm at the Oram Court house.
The toddler's father Nicholas Coslovich said he was heartbroken his "little angel" was gone.
He said police interviewed him yesterday but they did not give him any information on the death.
“Nikki, she had all the purity in her, the other girls have their bad sides and their good sides and they’re a nice little mix of good and bad but she had all the light in the world," he said.
“She had this little ability no matter how bad you felt, she’d walk up, smile, and give you a cuddle. The world was all better again.
“She did that to anyone, not just me. Friends would come over and she could do that to them, too."
He said her death had left a gaping hole in his and his family's life.
“The little angel’s been taken from the world,” he said.
“I just went Christmas shopping last month … there are presents wrapped up ready to go, just waiting for my little girl to never open them.”
Neighbour Rebecca Fotheringhan said the community rallied when they heard the toddler was missing and there were about 180 people looking for her when the tragic news was announced.
“I drove around looking for her … but we sort of knew something was amiss,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking, the kids used to play in the street.”
Neighbours were shocked by the tragic news in the usually quiet street.
They said Nikki, believed to have three sisters aged under seven, was a happy child who often played with other children on the street.
Another neighbour, Heather Miller said: “My kids used to play with her.”
“She was happy, always playing with her doll.
“The older girl was always polite and used her manners.”
Ms Miller said she was shocked a tragedy could occur so close to home.
“You get your rough nights here every now and then but it’s quiet more than anything,” she said.
“It’s terrible – I’ve got grandkids and one is the same age as her.
“I’m letting the kids stay home from school tomorrow, it’s too close to home.”
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