News

Hunt on for Shaun Barker's missing car

The Toolara Forestry site where the partial remains of Mr Barker were found in April this year.
The Toolara Forestry site where the partial remains of Mr Barker were found in April this year. Contributed

THE murder of a man whose skull was found near Tin Can Bay is being investigated by Gold Coast detectives following his identification as missing Gold Coast father Shaun Barker.

It is one of two suspicious deaths being investigated in the Gympie region, and police said they were "keeping an open mind" about any connections between the two.

The first, the unidentified Cedar Pocket torso, remains a mystery, but the second, the Toolara State Forest skull and bones,has had a breakthrough, with the victim formally identified as "loner' and father-of-one, Shaun Matthew Barker, missing since December, 2013.

Police said they were treating Mr Barker's death as a homicide, confirming that two bodies found just kilometres apart both likely met with foul play.

Wide Bay Burnett Detective Inspector Bruce McNab assured Gympie region residents that while it was "uncommon to find human remains, two lots, in one region" there was no risk.

DNA tests established the torso and skull did not belong to the same person and Det Insp McNab said it appeared the deaths were not related.

While similarities between the remains - each the partial remains of males found abandoned in rural locations - beg the question of a link between their deaths, Gold Coast Detective Acting Superintendent Brian Swan, who is now handling the case, said it was quite possible the skull, unlike the torso, had been pulled from its body by wild animals.

In a press conference at the Surfers Paradise, Det Acting Supt Swan said having "previous experience in these sorts of matters" wild dogs and pigs could well move remains around.

He did not rule out the presence of a gun shot but did say damage to the skull could have been caused by animals.

He said he was yet to explain how Mr Barker ended up on the Cooloola Coast, some three hours from his home and who, if anyone, left him in Toolara State Forest.

One aspect of the mystery police are calling for assistance with is the location of Mr Barker's missing blue Kia Rio car, with registration plates 518 TBV.

"At this point in time we have no leads on his vehicle," Det Acting Supt Swan said.

He said police were investigating Mr Barker's past and associates, and said he was known as a "loner".

He said while he could not comment on Mr Barker's criminal history, "we've got no connection with CMGs (criminal motorcycle gangs) at this point in time".

He could also offer no link between Mr Barker and the Gympie region.

He said Gold Coast detectives were still "keeping an open mind" about a possible connection between Mr Barker's death and the discovery of the torso and they would continue working with Wide Bay Burnett police.

Det Insp McNab said there had "definitely not" been any requests from Gold Coast police or Mr Barker's family for another search of Toolara Forest but local detectives would continue to "chip away" at identifying the Cedar Pocket torso.

He said police had permission from the Queensland Coroners Court to question pharmacies about customers who purchased quinine, and had obtained a list of names.

They were now in the process of obtaining Federal Government information about patients who had also been prescribed other drugs found in the torso.

Anyone with information should contact Gympie police or CrimeStoppers by calling 1800 333 000, available 24 hours a day.

Gympie Times

Topics:  missing murder skull toolara state forest



How to do Eat Street the right way

EVERYTHING you need to know to get the most out of your Eat Street experience and to avoid a food coma when you’re only one stall deep.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

BREAKING: A woman, 40, has died following Gympie crash

Paramedics rush the passenger to an ambulance following the crash on Nash St.

Emergency services are at the scene of a serious traffic crash

Unions take to streets as Sunday penalty rates cut

Retail workers will be among those hit by the changes.

Thousands of lowest paid workers to be hit by changes to pay rates

Could there be rainy days ahead?

Rain gauge. Rain Fall. Weather.

The BoM and Higgins Storm Chasing seem to think so

Local Partners

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

'LA LA Land? I only made it through 20 minutes.' Samuel L Jackson reveals his Oscars choices.

Live performance of Sci-fi classic to open Science Festival

Qld Symphony Orchestra perform live to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Festival will host A Live Presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Gympie children needed for auditions

FUN TIMES: Cast members from the GTA pantomine from 2005, Little Red Riding Hood.

Come on kids! Get on board for this fun G150 event.

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

Sunshine Coast features in convict history novel

NEW NOVEL: White Spirit is based on a true story and features the Kabi tribe and touches on the Eliza Fraser story.

New book based on a true story has local roots.

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

Reality TV show gives Maryborough a boost

*WARNING EMBARGOED until 9.15pm Monday January 30* Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight. Supplied by Channel 9.

Maryborough looks good on reality TV show.

15 houses for sale in Gympie under $200,000

9 Norman St Gympie: $179,000

First home-buyer or investor? Take a look at these bargains.

Red Hill Rd cafe property under the hammer Saturday

HOT PROPERTY: 14 Red Hill Rd, Gympie is going under the hammer.

Are you in the market for a place to run a coffee shop?

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!