Tributes As Homeless Woman Found Dead In Melbourne Park Identified
Devastated members of the public have begun laying tributes where a woman's body was found in a Melbourne park.
Police have formally identified the woman as Courtney Herron, a 25-year-old of no fixed address.
Investigators believe Herron was assaulted in inner Melbourne's Royal Park overnight on Friday before her body was discovered on Saturday morning.
Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said she died as a result of a "horrendous bashing".
"The level of violence involved here was extreme in my view," Stamper told reporters on Sunday afternoon.
"It was an horrific bashing ... in terms of weapons ... everything is open," he said.
Stamper said Herron lived a transient lifestyle, where she had sporadic contact with several different people.
Investigators believe she became detached from family due to her drug use. Her family have been told of her death.
“Courtney was couch surfing with friends and possibly sleeping rough," Stamper said.
"She had experiences with drugs and mental health issues and homelessness often comes as a factor of that".
The last confirmed sighting of Herron was on May 14 in St Albans, north of Melbourne, when she had contact with police. There have been no confirmed sightings since.
"There are still lot of gaps in terms of what actually happened in the park," Stamper said .
"There had been some efforts to conceal the body but not very good efforts unfortunately. We think we found her very soon after the attack; it was a number of hours."
Flowers have been placed on logs where Herron's body was discovered by dog walkers just before 9.30am on Saturday.
"You deserved so much better," a note attached to the flowers reads.
"May you rest in everlasting peace."
Herron's death has sparked shock and anger among Melbourne's community, being the fourth woman found dead in similar circumstances in the last 12 months.
Eurydice Dixon's body was found on June 12 last year at nearby Prince's Park, while international student Aiia Maasarwe, 21, suffered a similar fate after being attacked on her walk home near La Trobe University on January 15.
Both women were attacked by men they did not know and who have since been charged.
In April Natalina Angok's body was found dumped in Chinatown, allegedly killed by her one-time partner Christopher Allen who has been charged.
"My heart sinks a little deeper every time I hear something like this," one woman wrote on Facebook.
"I actually started to get the shakes and teared up a bit, because I knew something was wrong and that just confirmed it," one man posted in response to the news of Herron's death.
The park where Herron's body was found is a popular area in Melbourne, with Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius describing it as an "awful shock".
"We have tasked the local police to increase their visible presence, and when people come to this park they can continue to feel safe," he said.
Police were unable to confirm if the attack on Herron was random or sexually motivated, however both of these possibilities are being investigated.
Members of the homeless population in Parkville have been interviewed by police as they try to work out what Herron was doing on the night of her death.
There are no suspects at this stage and police are urging anyone with information to come forward as investigations continue.
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