The woman who was found dead in a Melbourne park yesterday morning died as a result of a “horrendous bashing”, police say.
Ms Herron’s body was discovered among a group of logs by dogwalkers in Royal Park in Parkville about 9:25am.
Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper of the homicide squad told reporters today Ms Herron had suffered a “horrendous bashing”.
“She died as result of an horrendous bashing is the only way to describe it, so we are now very focused on finding the perpetrator of this crime,” Inspector Stamper said.
He said Ms Herron had experienced issues with drugs and mental illness, and had been staying with friends and sleeping rough.
“Courtney had had sporadic contact with her family which is very much part of the challenges when there is a child suffering drug use issues, and mental health issues.
“Family relationships can be fragmented but I stress that doesn’t mean families out there don’t love their children.
“We’re dealing with a heartbroken family here.”
Inspector Stamper said the last confirmed sighting of Ms Herron was in St Albans in Melbourne’s west on May 14.
He said police were seeking to trace her movements between that date and when she was attacked.
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At the time of her death, Ms Herron was wearing a light brown sleeveless vest or jacket, a black hoodie, black tracksuit pants, black runners and a blue singlet top, which featured pink buildings, gold sequins and a large blue rose on the lower right side.
“We are committed to finding the person, or people, responsible for this horrific attack,” Inspector Stamper said.
“We are appealing for the community’s help and remind them that no piece of information is too big or too small.
“We know a number of people use this park and urge anyone with information or who may have seen anything suspicious to come forward.”
Members of the public have left floral tributes at the spot where Ms Herron’s body was found, as police increase their presence in the area in a bid to reassure the public.
Police patrolled the busy park on bicycles and horseback this morning as they continued to appeal to the public for information to help solve the crime.
Crime scene tape that had cordoned off a large area of the park on Saturday had been removed by this morning, and members of the public were laying flowers on a log near where the woman’s body was found.
“You deserved so much better. May you rest in everlasting piece,” one note read.
Police and State Emergency Service personnel conducted an extensive line search for evidence on Saturday.
Royal Park, near Melbourne Zoo and Melbourne University, is popular with joggers, dogwalkers and cyclists.
Ms Herron’s body was found near the intersection of busy Flemington Road and Elliott Avenue, which is one of the main links between Melbourne’s east and west.
It is about two kilometres from where comedian Eurydice Dixon, 22, was raped and murdered in June last year by 19-year-old Jaymes Todd as she walked home from a gig.
In January, 21-year-old Arab-Israeli exchange student Aiia Maasarwe was fatally attacked after she got off a tram in Bundoora in Melbourne’s north.
Codey Hermann, 20, has been charged with Ms Maasarwe’s rape and murder.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius yesterday sought to reassure people that the park was safe, and people should not be deterred from going about their usual activities.
“Melbourne remains one of the safest cities in Australia, if not the world,” he said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.