Toddler's parents thank Aussie cops

MELBOURNE: The parents of a three-year-old Indian boy whose body was found

dumped by the side of a road today thanked the police and the Australian public for their support since their son disappeared.

Family spokesman Tim Singh Laurence conveyed the thanks of Harjit Singh and his wife Harpreet Kaur after police in Victoria state said they had charged an Indian man who shared a house with them over the crime.

Laurence said the couple were relieved with how Victorian police had handled the case since their son Gurshan Singh vanished from their home on Thursday afternoon.

“(They) were not just coping with the loss of a three-year-old, but also coping with not knowing what would happen. So that is some small relief, thanks to the Victoria police,” Laurence told reporters.

“They were also touched by people who sent messages of support from all over the state, from all communities and from all faiths.” The child’s death came as Australia strives to bolster ties with India following a spate of attacks against Indian students, including the unsolved stabbing murder of 21-year-old Punjab man Nitin Garg in January.

Gurshan Singh’s fully clothed body was found by a council worker on an isolated road near Melbourne Airport on Thursday evening. There were no visible injuries to the body and no cause of death has been revealed.

Police on Sunday charged 23-year-old Gursewak Dhillon with manslaughter by criminal negligence over the death.

He is accused of placing the child’s unconscious body in the boot of his car and driving around for three hours before leaving it by the roadside, without checking whether the boy was still alive.

Dhillon, a part-time taxi driver

who lived with the Singh family,

was due to appear in Melbourne

Magistrates Court on Tuesday. Laurence said Gurshan’s parents wanted to take possession of their son’s body as soon as possible to return to northern India for a funeral.

“The parents are focused on taking their child back to India to where most of the relatives are — they want to be able to grieve with their families and hold a ceremony in accordance with the Sikh rituals,” he said.