Adam Child died after gunshot in Ermington police station after 20 years in homicide squad

Hardened detective who was shot dead inside a police station is from a highly respected cop family and he cracked one of Australia’s biggest murder cases: ‘A steely determination for justice’

  • Colleagues found detective sergeant Adam Child dead at Ermington station
  • The accomplished cop has been remembered for his kindness during work
  • He was part of the Homicide Squad and had a hand in solving tough murders 
  • For confidential crisis support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14  

A respected senior sergeant who tragically died at his police station is from a highly regarded policing family and worked in the force alongside his wife, solving some of Sydney‘s toughest cases in his two decade career within the NSW Police’s Homicide Squad.

Colleagues found Detective Sergeant Adam Child dead from a gunshot wound inside a room at Ermington police station, in Sydney’s west, about 12.30pm on Monday.

The 46-year-old father has been remembered as ‘one of the finest humans and detectives’ by relatives of murder victims whose cases he helped solve.

Police do not believe Mr Child’s death was suspicious. He was on duty at the time and a police-issued firearm was used in the incident.

Friends and former colleagues have expressed horror at learning of the father-of-two’s untimely death and questioned what support services were in place. 

Colleagues found detective sergeant Adam Child dead inside a room at Ermington police station in Sydney about 12.30pm on Monday

Colleagues found detective sergeant Adam Child dead inside a room at Ermington police station in Sydney about 12.30pm on Monday

‘I am just heartbroken. [Adam] was one of the finest humans and detectives,’ said one woman, who met Mr Child when he was assigned to the case of her loved one.

She added Mr Child would be remembered for his ‘compassion and steely determination for justice’.

He was publicly involved in the investigation into murdered mother Jody Galante, and was praised by her relatives for his kindness and dogged search for the truth.

The case was subject to an Australian Story episode in 2008 which featured Mr Child, as he explained the steps he took to solve the murder and put Mrs Galante’s husband, Mark, behind bars for 27 years. 

‘Adam Child and Anthony Agnew were so caring, they knew they were asking us to do hard things,’ Mrs Galante’s mother Julie-Anne Hand said at the time.

Mr Child had suspicions Mrs Galante’s husband was responsible for her death but did not have enough evidence to make an arrest. 

He asked her family to continue publicly supporting him while the investigation was ongoing to lull him into a false sense of security.

Mr Child was publicly involved in the investigation into murdered mother Jody Galante (pictured with her husband, who was eventually convicted of her murder), and was praised by her relatives for his kindness and dogged search for the truth

Mr Child was publicly involved in the investigation into murdered mother Jody Galante (pictured with her husband, who was eventually convicted of her murder), and was praised by her relatives for his kindness and dogged search for the truth

Following Galante's arrest, the 27-year-old pleaded guilty to his wife's murder and was sentenced to 27 years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 20 years

Following Galante’s arrest, the 27-year-old pleaded guilty to his wife’s murder and was sentenced to 27 years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 20 years

Almost two months later, he asked them to help clear out Mrs Galante’s daughter’s belongings from the house, noting ‘she wouldn’t be going back there’.

Following Galante’s arrest, the 27-year-old pleaded guilty to his wife’s murder and was sentenced to 27 years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 20 years.

Mrs Galante’s family couldn’t praise Mr Child enough for his work on the case. 

The homicide squad in NSW leads the response to major criminal investigations, including murders, suspicious deaths, critical incidents and coronial inquiries. 

Mr Child has been commended for his role in countless investigations over his 20-year career.

‘I’m so sick at heart right now, the ripple affect of the loss of Adam will be felt by many families today, his own family and the his family in Blue,’ one friend said.

‘It’s a very sad day. Adam was a good man and detective… Rest well brother.’ 

Mr Child was usually based at the Parramatta head office but was stationed at Ermington while working on an active investigation in the region.

Mrs Galante's family couldn't praise Mr Child any more for his work on the case

 Mrs Galante’s family couldn’t praise Mr Child any more for his work on the case

A critical incident has been declared as part of standard procedures within NSW Police when an employee dies in the vicinity of other officers.

NSW Police said in a statement Mr Child’s colleagues and all officers at Ermington station will be offered support to deal with the grief and shock.

Mr Child’s death is the latest in a string of tragic police deaths in recent years.

Just two years ago in November 2020, Sergeant Matthew Theoklis died by suicide at the Sydney Police Centre in Surry Hills.

Between 2017 and 2019, a further five Australian Federal Police officers took their own lives on the job.

A 24-hour trauma response hotline was established in NSW and 1,200 officers were trained as part of a state-wide peer support program. 

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au

Police do not believe Mr Child's death was suspicious. He was on duty at the time and a police issued firearm was used in the incident

Police do not believe Mr Child’s death was suspicious. He was on duty at the time and a police issued firearm was used in the incident

Spate of deaths in police forces across Australia

Steps have been taken within police forces across the nation to improve mental health support services for serving officers following a spate of suicides among serving and former cops.

In the span of two years, five Australian Federal Police officers tragically died by suicide in the workplace, prompting overhauls to firearm rules. 

Previously, officers were able to check out their guns even while they were off duty, but the new restrictions meant they would need a reason to take their weapons.

Last year, two serving West Australian police officers died in the span of a fortnight.

Just two years ago in November 2020, Sergeant Matthew Theoklis died by suicide at the Sydney Police Centre in Surry Hills.

A 24-hour trauma response hotline was established in NSW and 1,200 officers were trained as part of a state-wide peer support program. 

‘It’s not uncommon, and that’s the scary thing,’ a serving police officer told Daily Mail Australia.

‘At the end of the day, it’s a high pressure job and when you combine that with stresses that aren’t work related, it can really add up.’  

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