Kiena Dawes died aged 23 just hours after she was reported missing by worried family. She was found dead on the train line near Garstang on July 22.
Lancashire Constabulary later referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after confirming there had been previous contact between the force’s officers and Miss Dawes.
The IOPC has now confirmed it will investigate following the mandatory referral, which a particular focus on claims that Miss Dawes, from Fleetwood, had been the victim of a number of assaults prior to her death.
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What do Lancashire Police say about Kiena Dawes death?
Officers also revealed that a 28-year-old man from Fleetwood had been arrested on suspicion of assaulting her and had been released on bail pending further enquiries.
Kiena’s family have since released images showing of the 23-year-old with graphic head injuries. It is unclear how she sustained her wounds or when and how the injuries occurred.
What happened to Kiena Dawes?
Kiena, who had a nine-month-old daughter, was found dead on the railway near Garstang on Friday after going missing from her home in Fleetwood earlier that day.
The child is now being looked after by Kiena's brother Kynan Dawes who has had to give up his job as a self-employed builder to care for her.
An appeal fund to support little Marnie and her uncle - and help pay for Kiena's funeral - has raised more than £12,000 in just two days.
What do the IOPC say?
IOPC Regional Director Catherine Bates said: “The death of Kiena Dawes is a tragedy that has had a devastating impact on her family and friends. Our thoughts are with her loved ones and all those affected.“Our independent investigation will help establish the actions taken by police, both in response to reports of violence and to locate her once she was reported missing.“We have spoken to Miss Dawes’ family to explain our role and will keep them updated on the progress of our investigation.”
“We will be looking at the police response to the missing person report, as well as reports earlier this year that she had been the victim of assaults,” added an IOPC spokesman.
"We will be speaking to witnesses and reviewing police records to understand the nature of the contact between officers and Miss Dawes, as well as any actions taken by police in response.”
Why have Lancashire Police referred themselves to the watchdog?
Police forces must report themselves by law to the IOPC if they have had recent contact with anyone who later dies or is seriously injured.
Kiena's family say officers attended her home address after the alleged assault on July 11.
A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said today: "First and foremost our thoughts are with Kiena’s loved ones at this difficult time.
Lancashire Police headquarters at Hutton near Preston.
"We have referred ourselves to the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) in relation to contact we had with Kiena before her death.
"Therefore it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time."