News

Whose remains at Borumba? The wait continues

Missing person Stuart Raymond Gatehouse
Missing person Stuart Raymond Gatehouse Contributed

UPDATE MAY 3:

THE human remains found in a car at the bottom of Borumba Dam last month are yet to be identified, police have confirmed this morning.

Detective Sergeant David Harbison of Maroochydore CIB said testing is still taking place to identify the skeletal remains and to find the cause of death.

He said a post mortem was conducted last week and police had been provided with a preliminary report but were waiting on a formal report before information about the cause of death could be released.

He said DNA testing was still taking place and could take weeks.

The vehicle the remains were found in was previously confirmed as belonging to missing person Stuart Gatehouse who disappeared 13 years ago on his way from Kenilworth to Gympie.

Originally from Tasmania but living and working in Kenilworth at the time, the family man who police described as 'liked' was last seen in April 2004 when he was 45-years-old.

Mr Gatehouse was reported missing to Tasmanian Police by his father Kevin Gatehouse who knew his son was living at a property at Kenilworth and was planning to drive to Gympie and further on to Maryborough to visit his brother.

But he never arrived.   His Holden Commodore was found submerged 15m near the dam's boat ramp by a fisherman who was using sounder equipment during a fishing competition last month.

It has been the only breakthrough in the 'unusual case' where "the car had just disappeared off the face of the earth" Detective Senior Sergeant Edwards said referring to the case in Missing Person's Week last year.

"We focused on the possible movements of Gatehouse from when he left Kenilworth to Gympie around the Kandanga Range," Det Snr Sgt Edwards said.  

"We had a helicopter survey the area without success.  

"It is quite mountainous and full of steep terrain and woodlands. It is an area people don't traverse."

Imbil police Senior Constable Bill Greer said while the number plates of the car matched Mr Gatehouse's car, nothing could be confirmed on the identity of the skeletal remains or how they got there until tests came back.

Clayton's Towing machinery dragged the car from Borumba Dam on Thursday afternoon before human remains were discovered inside.
Clayton's Towing machinery dragged the car from Borumba Dam on Thursday afternoon before human remains were discovered inside. Contributed

APRIL 21 12.30PM:

POLICE are not ruling anything out about the mystery surrounding the human remains pulled from the bottom of Borumba Dam yesterday.

The skeletal remains found in a car at the bottom of the dam are thought to be that of missing man Stuart Gatehouse who disappeared 13 years ago on his way from Kenilworth to Gympie. 

The homicide squad has now reopened the case.  

Imbil police Senior Constable Bill Greer said while the number plates of the car matched Mr Gatehouse's car, until tests came back nothing could be confirmed on the identity of the skeletal remains or how they got there.

Const Greer said he had been liaising with the missing man's family, who was from Tasmania, and "they were aware of the current situation".

"But running tests won't be a quick process," he said.

The submerged car was detected by a Kingaroy man, a frequent Borumba Dam fisherman who was testing new sounder equipment at a fishing contest about two weeks ago.

He reported the find to police the next day.
Police divers however were occupied with flood work around the time of ex-tropical cyclone Debbie so were unable to search the car until yesterday.

 The dam was closed all day while the divers searched the pitch black water and retrieved the number plates from the car, which was lodged in mud and silt at the bottom of the dam at a depth of 15m.

Greer said Clayton's Towing towed the car from the water, the water seeping from the vehicle within minutes from it exiting the dam.

Basstasstic Fishing Club competition organiser Russell Nowland who was on the water when his fellow club members came across  the car was shocked to learn the car had a body in it.    "It is terrible find you find out someone is in the car," Mr Nowland said.

Depth sounding images show a car resting on the bottom of Borumba Dam. The car was later found to contain human remains.
Depth sounding images show a car resting on the bottom of Borumba Dam. The car was later found to contain human remains. Terry Allwood

The car and remains were transported to Brisbane late yesterday for scientific testing including DNA and possible dental.  

Greer said investigation would continue but could not provide any information about people being questioned in relation to the man's disappearance. 

Anyone with information on the disappearance is urged to contact police on 1800 333 000.

MYSTERY: Police from Imbil and the dive squad watch a car containing human remains pulled out of Borumba Dam yesterday.
MYSTERY: Police from Imbil and the dive squad watch a car containing human remains pulled out of Borumba Dam yesterday. Contributed

EARLIER:

A CAR containing human remains pulled from Borumba Dam yesterday may be the answer to a 13 year missing persons mystery.

The police dive squad pulled a Holden Commodore containing skeletal remains from near the dam's boat ramp.

The remains are believed to be of missing Tasmanian man Stuart Gatehouse who was 45-years-old when he disappeared from Kenilworth on his way to Gympie.

He disappeared in April 2004 and yesterday would have been his 58th birthday.

Neither he nor his car have not been seen since.  

Detective Senior Sergeant Edwards said during Missing Person's Week last year said the case of the missing 'family man' was unusual because "the car had just disappeared off the face of the earth."    

"He was a family man and we do not know of any enemies.

"He was working and living at Kenilworth and from what we know, he was a liked man."

The car was pulled from the water yesterday afternoon.
The car was pulled from the water yesterday afternoon. Contributed

Police were notified by a member of the public who was using a depth sounder and picked up a large object in the dam.

The Police Dive Squad attended yesterday and removed the submerged vehicle from the water.

The State Homicide Squad is assisting Sunshine Coast CIB detectives with the investigation.

Anyone with information which they believe could be relevant to the investigation is urged to contact police.

Missing Person Stuart Gatehouse

  • Missing since: Thursday, April 1, 2004
  • Last seen: Kenilworth QLD
  • Jurisdiction: QLD
  • Year of birth: 1959
  • Age now: 58
  • Gender: Male
  • Height: 183cm
  • Build: Solid
  • Hair: Black
  • Eyes: Blue

Circumstances:

 

Stuart Gatehouse Last seen April 2004
Stuart Gatehouse Last seen April 2004 Contributed

Circumstances:

Stuart Gatehouse was last seen in Kenilworth Queensland around April 2004.

He left Kenilworth to travel to Gympie Queensland but never arrived.

Stuart was last seen travelling in a red 1986 Holden Commodore, CG 3270.

 

Stuart Gatehouse was driving a 1986 Red Holden VL commodore with Tasmanian Registration CG3270.

Photo Contributed
Stuart Gatehouse was driving a 1986 Red Holden VL commodore with Tasmanian Registration CG3270. Photo Contributed Contributed
Gympie Times

Topics:  borumba dam gympie police homicide missing person stuart gatehouse



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