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Three charged with murder over mystery skull found in bush

Earlier today, detectives arrested three men - a 37-year-old Gold Coast man, and two men from Cooloolah Cove, aged 45 and 22.
Earlier today, detectives arrested three men - a 37-year-old Gold Coast man, and two men from Cooloolah Cove, aged 45 and 22. Patrick Woods

TWO Cooloola Cove men have been charged over the murder of missing Gold Coast man Shaun Barker, whose skull was found in Toolara State Forest earlier this year.

Earlier today, detectives arrested three men - a 37-year-old Gold Coast man, and two men from Cooloolah Cove, aged 45 and 22.

The have been charged with murder, interfering with a corpse, torture and deprivation of liberty.

Mr Barker was reported missing by his family on January 14.

Following his disappearance, a joint investigation by the Gold Coast Criminal Investigation Branch and the Homicide Investigation Unit was launched, code named Operation Mike Dorado.

As a result of investigations, police determined the last positive sighting of Mr Barker was at a service station at Broadbeach on December 10.

A skull and other human remains located by forestry workers in the Toolara State Forest on 10 April 2014 were forensically examined and identified as that of Mr Barker.

The Cooloola Cove pair are due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

The Gold Coast man is due to appear in Toowoomba Magistrates Court on Monday.

South Eastern Regional Crime Coordinator Detective Superintendent David Hutchinson said today's arrests have been the culmination of a comprehensive and protracted investigation which started as a simple missing person report.

"I would like to acknowledge the Crime and Corruption Commission's (CCC) significant contribution to this investigation.

"They gathered crucial evidence through a series of coercive hearings from July 2014.

"The CCC's hearings helped investigators to identify those involved in the alleged murder and the timeline of events leading up to it."

Detectives would like to hear from any members of the public who have information about the death of Mr Barker, or who have knowledge of the location or movements of a white 1983 model 80 Series Toyota Landcruiser station wagon, which at the time displayed Queensland registration 817SBZ. 

 

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