An Aboriginal boy who died after the skip bin he was sleeping in was emptied is being remembered as a “cheeky” and “sweet” boy who had a big imagination.
The 13-year-old was sleeping rough with two other boys aged 11 and 12 in a bin near a McDonald’s restaurant in Port Lincoln, South Australia, when it was routinely emptied.
One of the boys jumped clear and the other was not injured, but the 13-year-old sustained serious injuries and died at the scene.
The boy’s aunt says he had a close relationship with his parents, brothers and grandmothers, whom he “loved and adored”.
“He loved hunting, fishing, camping, was a cheeky boy who had a big imagination,” she said in a statement read to Nine News.
Members of the Port Lincoln community who knew the teenager described him as “a sweet boy”.
“Heaven gained a beautiful smiling face with the biggest brown eyes today,” wrote a friend on Facebook.
“My heart is broken for this very special boy to me! I don’t know how or why but we had a very special bond from the day we met. You absolutely brought so much joy and laughter to my life when I seen (sic) you! I will miss your bullshit stories and your massive smile when u seen me. My heart is shattered for your Family.
“I will treasure that last cuddle from you last week, my visits to the jetty will never be the same. You have a chapter in my book sweet boy.”
About a month ago, worried loved ones put up a social media post pleading with people to help find the boy after he went missing briefly.
“Come home please I’m worried,” the post reads.
It’s understood he was located soon after.
It remains unclear why the boy was sleeping in the industrial bin with the two others.
Police on Tuesday said while Port Lincoln had a homelessness problem like other communities, they were not aware of children sleeping rough.
Superintendent Paul Bahr said that he did not think “it would be fair to classify them as homeless”.
The questions around why they ended up sleeping in the bin will form part of a coronial investigation.
Port Lincoln mayor Brad Flaherty said the council was deeply saddened by the death.
“This is devastating news for our community and those families and friends who are directly impacted by the incident,” he said in a statement.
“Our heartfelt thoughts are with the families and community members affected.”