With her mother in police custody, young Tiah was placed in foster care. Over the following years, the young girl was shuttled from home to home. She finally ended up in the care of 55-year-old Richard and 53-year-old Julene Thorburn, who lived on an expansive property in the Chambers Flat area of Logan City. With two grown up sons of their own, the Thorburns also ran a daycare service for children.
By the time Tiah was being fostered by the Thorburn family, Cyndi had begun to get her life back on track. About to be released from a prison sentence, she hoped to regain custody of her daughter once more. Meanwhile, Tiah was settling in to life with the Thorburns and the then 18-year-old Trent and 19-year-old Joshua.
But, according to Sue Palmer, Tiah’s grandmother, the young girl was settling in so well, and enjoying life at Chambers Flat so much that she was reluctant to reunite with her mother. Apparently, she had developed feelings for Trent, and become attached to the horses that her new foster family kept on their grounds.