Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Child missing after three people found dead in outback Australia

The outback town is located about 300km northwest of Alice Springs. Source Google MapsMore The outback town is located about 300km northwest of Alice Springs. Source Google MapsMore
Deanna Wagner | 08 November, 2018, 16:57

Police said the child's body was located 120 metres away from a family of three who were found dead yesterday near an abandoned auto on the outskirts of the community of Willowra, 300 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs.

Northern Territory Police and Emergency Services are doing land and air searches of the Willowra area, 300km northwest of Alice Springs, after the group was found dead near their broken down vehicle yesterday.

But police say it is possible, based on information from other family members, that a 12-year-old boy was also a passenger in the vehicle.

On Thursday afternoon, police said a child's body had been discovered 120 meters (400 feet) from the family but wouldn't confirm whether it was the missing child.

Police said the deaths are not being treated as suspicious and ruled out a auto crash, but they are investigating whether it was heat-related.

Superintendent Nobbs has said earlier that the four occupants of the auto were seen leaving Willowra on November 2 and were bound for nearby Yarra Yarra. The three bodies were found about 4.5km from the vehicle. Remnants of food and water were also found at the scene.

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"The whereabouts of this boy are not known at this time", Superintendent Jody Nobbs told reporters on Thursday.

Family members have not authorised the release of the missing boy's name but say people living in the surrounding communities of Ali Curung, Ti Tree and Willowra are aware of the situation.

The alarm was raised by a "distraught" man at an Aboriginal health clinic at remote Willowra just before 12.30pm on Wednesday.

Duty Superintendent Shaun Gil told ABC Radio on Thursday investigators originally thought the incident was the result of a vehicle crash, but then realised that was not the case.

"He will be a critical part of the investigation".

Police are calling on anyone with information to contact them immediately on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.