Remembering and mourning Trinity Bates
We Were There is a 12-part series documenting some of the biggest issues, stories and community matters covered by the NewsMail in recent history.
WHEN eight-year-old Bundaberg girl Trinity Bates was taken from her home and murdered in 2010, the NewsMail was there to cover the tragedy and capture the palpable shock felt by the community.
As national media swooped on the city to cover the shocking story, NewsMail reporter Letea Cavander and photographer Darryn Smith led our local coverage.
It was the morning of February 22, 2010, when Trinity's father Damian woke to find her missing from her bed. Police found her body in a nearby drain soon after.
Former NewsMail editor Christina Ongley said covering the story in the early days and weeks wasn't just a matter of talking to police and family and friends of the beautiful young girl.
"Bundaberg hadn't experienced something like that for a long time - people were genuinely shocked and grieving for a little girl they didn't know," she said.
"The use of websites and social media was also rising at that time, so the NewsMail became a real outlet for tributes to Trinity from a community reeling."
Through the public vigil for the little girl lost, the arrest and guilty plea of her murderer Allan John Slater, and the support for a family whose lives changed in an instant, the NewsMail brought you the story.
Follow the issues that have shaped us with our We Were There series in print and online for the next two weeks.