A remote community is reeling and support agencies are searching for answers after the apparent suicide of an Indigenous Australian girl, aged 10.
The girl’s body was found at Looma in the Kimberly region on Sunday. It was the 19th Indigenous suicide in Western Australia state since December.
Looma Police said the death of the “lovely girl” had shattered locals.
“This is totally unexpected, it’s rocked the community,” Senior Sergeant Neville Rip told Australian media.
The girl’s life was marred by “trauma and tragedy”, authorities said.
“She had witnessed the suicide of another close family member and it’s not anything I can go into any more detail about,” West Australia’s Child Protection Minister Helen Morton told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“But the circumstances for this young girl and the level of accumulated harm and trauma that she had experienced in her short life was quite substantial.”
Reports said the girl’s parents lived hundreds of kilometres away. She had recently moved to live with extended family following the death of her older sister.
Suicide prevention researcher Gerry Georgatos told the BBC that Indigenous Australians aged 14 and under were nine times more likely to consider suicide than the general population.
“It’s not the youngest I’ve seen,” Mr Georgatos said.
“It’s a tragedy and an abomination… it takes a lot for someone so young to give up so soon.”
The Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said he was deeply saddened by the news.
“It has reinforced his resolve to do everything he can to prevent suicide and the enormous grief it causes families and communities,” a spokesperson for Mr Scullion said in a statement.
Mr Scullion conceded late last year during a A$1m ($750,00; £500,000) Indigenous suicide services announcement that more coordinated and culturally appropriate care was needed.
Western Australia is reportedly planning an inquiry into suspected suicides in the Pilbarra and Kimberley.