REVEALED: The secret texts that hid dad's plan to kill his four-year-old daughter
An inquest into the death of Eeva Dorendahl and Martin Hutchings has heard the details of their last few days
Editor / March 27 2019
More than five years ago the bodies of four-year-old Eeva Dorendahl and her dad Greg Hutchings were found in the sand dunes on the NSW Tweed Coast.
Now, the disturbing details that led to the discovery of the bodies have been outlined at an inquest into the deaths – and a series of haunting text messages have been revealed.
The inquest heard that little Eeva had been visiting her dad, 35, for the Christmas break in 2013. They were staying at the home of Eeva's grandmother and Greg Hutching's mother, Diana, in Pottsville.
But on January 11, 2014 Eeva and her dad went missing.
Eeva’s mother and Mr Hutchings’ ex-partner, Michelle Dorendahl, had dropped her little girl off with her dad at Nambour railway station, before Christmas.
After the visit was due to be over, Mr Hutchings sent a series of very polite text messages to his ex that “gave no indication that he was an immediate danger to Eeva or himself” coroner Teresa O’Sullivan wrote in her findings.
After asking what time she should pick Eeva up, he sent one text to Michelle saying, “Hi Michelle, Sorry grandma was on my phone and I didn’t get your msgs (sic) til (sic) after Eeva’s bedtime.
“She is fine and happy, but I’ve been up all night vomiting and with the runs. I can’t do 9 hours public transport today.
“You’re welcome to come pick Eeva up at Pottsville today or I will bring her to Nambour tomorrow or Saturday when I’m better. Happy to pick Eeva up a day or two later next visit to make up the time.”
"Not withholding so don’t make a big deal out of it, just let me know. Skype around ten am if you like and call whenever you want. Sorry again for the muck around, I think it was something I ate. Truly, Greg.”
The following day he sent her another message.
“I’ve had another rough night but a bit better than the last one. Eeva has been up and is a bit cranky but not sick- Im letting her sleep in for a bit,” he wrote. “Let me know it you want to come pick Eeva up today, otherwise we’ll be on the train to Nambour tomorrow.”
Eeva's mum skyped her daughter later that day, and it was the last time she saw her daughter alive.
The next day, when Ms Dorendahl was driving down to pick Eeva up, she received a text from Mr Hutchings, which read: “Taken Eeva to the river mouth next to the park at Postville (sic). Call when you get here if you don’t see us”.
It was 17 days later when the State Emergency Service found their bodies underneath a large pandanus tree on Pottsville Beach.
The cause of the Eeva and her father’s deaths weren't clear because of the condition of their bodies but the coroner said it was clear Mr Hutchings had taken his own life.
“Eeva died while in the care of her father, Greg Hutchings, and she died as a result of her father’s actions,” the coroner said.
It may be that Greg initially took Eeva with a plan to hide out for a period of time, before deciding what to do,” she said.
“However, I am satisfied that at some stage, he formed a view that he could not keep living and could not return Eeva, and so he put into place a plan that resulted in both of their deaths.”
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Frances Sheen has been a magazine and website journalist & editor for the last 20 years - both in Australia and the UK. She's appeared on countless TV and radio shows to discuss parenting and launched her own social media parenting brand. She's the mum of two little girls and juggles that with a busy working life.