Novak Djokovic shattered over death of Danka Ilic, 2, who was murdered in horror way

Djokovic absolutely heartbroken and devastated over the tragic death of two-year-old Serbian baby Danka Ilic.

by Dzevad Mesic
Novak Djokovic shattered over death of Danka Ilic, 2, who was murdered in horror way
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Novak Djokovic is absolutely heartbroken over the tragic death of a two-year-old Serbian baby as the Serbian tennis superstar paid his tribute to Danka Ilic after the news of her murder shocked Serbia and the entire Balkans region.

Last week, a Serbian mother reported that her two-year-old baby went missing after she just went into the house to pick up a glass of water. When Ivana Ilic returned to the yard, two-year-old Danka was nowhere to be found and that's when she alerted the police. 

For the next 10 days, the police and numerous volunteers searched the entire area trying to find Danka. Late last week, a video from Vienna showed a girl resembling Danka at a bus station, which led to concerns that she may have been kidnapped and that's when the Austrian authorities and Interpol got involved as well. 

But on Thursday - after 10 days of searching for missing Danka - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced on Thursday that the police had in custody two men suspected of killing the two-year-old baby. 

In his announcement, President Vucic shared some horrifying details as he revealed that little Danka was hit by two waterworks company employees, who then picked her up and put the girl in their trunk. The two suspects - who were intoxicated at the time - then dumped the body at a landfill.

Danka Ilic
Danka Ilic © Instagram

On Instagram, one of the posts paying tribute to Danka read: "When you disappeared, you united us in prayer."

The Instagram accounts of Djokovic and Jelena Djokovic's foundation reposted it to their Instagram stories. In his post, Djokovic added a broken heart emoji and a prayer emoji. 

Novak Djokovic tribute for Danka Ilic
Novak Djokovic tribute for Danka Ilic © Novak Djokovic - Instagram

The horrifying details of the Danka Ilic case

"When I turned around, she was gone," Ivana Ilic told Serbian media after the disappearance of her baby Danka.

The disappearance of Danka was baffling in many ways but then a horror revelation came that provided answers but also left many in absolute shock and disbelief. 

"We have bad news for the child. The police have arrested two people who killed the little girl. As far as I understand, both have confessed to the crime. What kind of monsters are we dealing with?" Serbian President Vucic announced on Thursday. 

To make it all worse - minutes after the disappearance of Danka - her father Milos was stopping cars and asking people if anyone had seen his little girl when he came across waterworks company workers, Srdjan Jankovic and Dejan Dragijevic. Jankovic and Dragijevic - the two men who confessed to killing Danka - told her father that they hadn't seen her, all while she was in their trunk. 

"The girl's father stopped them in his car and asked if they saw the girl, and they said no. One of the men later even joined the search," Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic revealed this week.

Collage showing Danka Ilic, Srdjan Jankovic and Dejan Dragijevic
Collage showing Danka Ilic, Srdjan Jankovic and Dejan Dragijevic© Instagram

Danka Ilic was alive after being hit by the car but then got strangled 

Jankovic and Dragijevic were brought in for questioning early in the investigation but there wasn't concrete proof that they were the perpetrators. 

"They were intoxicated, we didn't measure their blood alcohol concentation at that time. But they had a delayed reaction to certain questions. They were cold, laughed, denied everything, their reactions didn't suggest that something like that could be attributed to them. Then we let them go, but we didn't excluded from the investigation. We knew that we cannot polygraph test people under the influence of opiates, but it is a small child and we cannot wait," Criminal Police Directorate chief Ninoslav Cmolic.

But after being brought back for another round of questioning and this time asking them some other questions, Jankovic and Dragijevic confessed to the crime after being met by the evidence. During their conversation, the police realized that Danka didn't pass away instantly after being hit by the car but that she likely passed away after being strangled later in the car.

"We called them for a retest and this time they were sober, both of them. The polygraph examiners asked them more specific questions, with more details, because we had more information. Both of them failed the important questions. When we then confronted them with the facts, they admitted everything , one after the other," said Cmolić, adding that their stories match 90 percent, except for a few key details," Cmolic said.

"This tells us that the child was alive when they hit him with the car. That house where Danka lived was pulled in, they stopped with the car to defecate on that driveway, it's not a yard, it's more of a thicket. They did what they had to do and left, and that's where they most likely hit Danka. The passenger picks up the child and puts him in the back among the tools. The child wakes up, the passenger puts one hand around the neck, covers his nose and mouth with the other and chokes him. This can be seen on the GPS, they go a little, then slow down, then drive again. That kind of driving lasted about four minutes."

After the shocking confession, the police focused their search on the landfill where the body was supposedly dumped but they have yet to find Danka's body.

Novak Djokovic