Lilie James’ family has released a statement describing the 22-year-old sports coach as “vibrant, outgoing and very much loved”.
The family, released by NSW Police, said they were “devastated and heartbroken” by the loss.
The statement comes after police retrieved a body from the bottom of cliffs in Sydney’s eastern suburbs this morning.
Investigators had been scouring the headlands surrounding Diamond Bay Reserve in Vaucluse after items related to Ms James’ murder were found in the area.
NSW Police have been searching for Ms James’ colleague and short-term partner, Paul Thijssen, who was wanted for questioning in relation to Ms James’ death. The identity of the body recovered at the Vaucluse crime scene has not been revealed.
The body of Ms James was found earlier this week at the elite St Andrews Cathedral School in Sydney.
Ms James, a sports coach at St Andrews Cathedral School, was discovered in the gym toilets at the school on Kent Street in Sydney’s CBD.
Police quickly revealed they were searching for Thijssen, who reportedly placed the call to emergency services before disappearing. ABC News reports the call was made just before midnight on October 25, four hours after Ms James died.
Investigators have not released a cause of death for Ms James, but confirmed she suffered serious head injuries.
“From her injuries, it was apparent she was the victim of a homicide,” lead investigator Superintendent Martin Fileman said at a press conference, via ABC News.
“The actual scene itself was quite confronting for the police that turned up.”
“The woman’s death is being treated as suspicious; however, a post-mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death,” police said in a statement.
A crime scene has been established at the school, with police continuing to review CCTV footage from the area and interview several witnesses.
A second crime scene was established the same day at Diamond Bay Reserve in Vaucluse, where police discovered items “associated with the actual homicide”.
Superintendent Martin Fileman requested anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers or Day Street police station in Sydney.
Parents of students of the Anglican school were told the institution would remain closed for two days, except for year 12 exams.
“No students were involved and there is no ongoing threat,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“An area of the school, not accessible to students, is a crime zone, and we await the approval of police before bringing everyone back on site.”
Lilie James’ Family Release A Statement
The family of Lilie James have shared a statement detailing their ongoing grief.
“We are devastated and heartbroken by the loss of our beautiful Lilie James,” the statement read.
“She was vibrant, outgoing and very much loved by her friends and family. We are tremendously grateful for the support of the community at this difficult time.
“As a police investigation is underway, we will not be providing further comments. We ask that you please respect our privacy.”
A family friend also spoke to media outlets, describing Ms James as a “loving beautiful girl filled with love for family and friends, focused and determined for her love of teaching and helping others.”
“She was always supporting everyone else’s dreams and goals. She worked really hard to better herself,” the family friend said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.