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Investigation continues as search for bodies is called off

UPDATE - WEDNESDAY, 2.45PM:

Police conducting investigations into the alleged concealed births at a property in Gin Gin have today finalised the excavation at the property.

Investigators will continue their investigations, including speaking with a number of people and information received during the search process.

Police will continue to forensically examine items located at the property yesterday.

UPDATE TUESDAY, 4.45PM:

ST AGNES is the kind of place you'd be more likely to find a black-breasted button quail than hidden, decade-old graves of several newborns.

But it is in this dry and dusty conservation-zoned area near Goodnight Scrub that teams from the Homicide and Child Trauma units are continuing to search a rural property to find any trace of the births believed to have been concealed in the late '90s to early 2000s.

The cold case was reopened by investigators who swarmed on the St Agnes Rd property early Monday to begin excavations on certain parts of the land.

While some items of interest were uncovered on day two of the search today, scientific investigations had so far failed to uncover any skeletal remains.

"The scientific examination and excavation is a meticulous and time-consuming process," Cold Case Homicide Unit Detective Inspector Mick Dowie said.

"Items have been seized. However, no skeletal remains have been located or any items that, in isolation, provide evidence that could corroborate the information we are investigating."

While kilometres separate neighbouring properties, news of the search has travelled quickly up the steep, winding dirt tracks to the property of husband and wife Jim and Greer.

"We didn't know until we saw the news," Jim said.

The couple, originally from the Gold Coast, built their home nearby about three years ago, and said they had been attracted by the tranquillity of the area, just outside Gin Gin, which was known to be a blue zone for the rare black-breasted button quail.

They said they had been friendly with the past three occupiers of the property in question.

"It's not like you're leaning over your back fence to say hello," Jim said.

"The time period (during which the alleged births happened) was before we bought the block."

The couple said that when they purchased the block 13 years ago, they had known the family of five that lived on the property now being scoured by police, and had shared cups of tea with them on the odd occasion.

The second owner of the property, they say, was a man who was involved in a fruit-and-vegetable business in Brisbane.

"He died from cancer six months ago," Greer said.

The pair told the NewsMail the current renters of the property, believed to be friends of the deceased man, would be shocked about what was now unfolding.

"They are starting to grow passionfruit (on the property)," Greer said.

The search will continue tomorrow.

UPDATE: Scientific excavations continue to be conducted today at a property in Gin Gin as investigators speak with a number of people as part of the investigation into a number of alleged concealed child births at the property.

While the excavation has produced some items of interest which have been seized for further examination, no skeletal remains have been located at this stage. 

"The scientific examination and excavation is a meticulous and time consuming process. Some items have been seized, however no skeletal remains have been located or any items that in isolation provide evidence that could corroborate the information we are investigating," Detective Inspector Mick Dowie said.

The excavation is expected to continue over the coming days.

EARLIER: Police are still searching a property at Gin Gin for the remains of babies believed to have been concealed on the property more than a month ago.

National and local media swarmed at the location today as the search continued. 

EARLIER: A taskforce of police officers will today continue to excavate a Gin Gin property for the remains of a number of babies believed to have been concealed on the land more than a decade ago.

Police officers excavate a Gin Gin property for the remains of a number of babies believed to have been concealed on the land more than a decade ago. Photo Contributed
Police officers excavate a Gin Gin property for the remains of a number of babies believed to have been concealed on the land more than a decade ago. Photo Contributed Contributed

"We're conducting investigations into information we've received with regards to, what we believe, is the concealment of a number of child births on a property in the Gin Gin area," Det Insp Dowie said.

"We're looking at a time range of the late 90s to early 2000s, and I'm not prepared to discuss the number of children involved."

Det Insp Dowie said the homicide unit had been looking into the information for quite some time and expected investigations to continue for another three days.

"At this point in time, we are required to do a crime scene investigation of the property to see if there is any evidence there to corroborate it," he said.

"It's information at this stage."

Det Insp Dowie said the family in question were no longer living on the property, which was being rented out to different occupier.

"This is a very sensitive investigation of course," he said.

"By law, we need to protect the identity of any family members."

While Det Insp Dowie remained tight-lipped around what they believed the circumstances surrounding the child deaths were, he did confirm the children had not been aborted before full term.

"You can draw your own conclusions about the fact we are doing excavations on the property," he said.

Det Insp Dowie said investigators were hoping to conduct interviews in the course of the coming days.
"We know who we need to talk to and we will speak to those people," he said.

He was reluctant to say whether the family was still living in Bundaberg or whether they were assisting police with their inquiries.

"We are very serious about protecting the identity of the family," he said.

A team of about 10 scoured the Gin Gin property in the sweltering heat today and Det Insp Dowie said they would continue to do the same today.

"We will be conducting a scientific excavation over a particular area of the property," he said.

Anyone who may have information related to the investigation are urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Alternatively, call Bundaberg Police on 4153 9111.

CHILD DEATHS: Homicide and the Child Trauma Task Force have executed a crime scene warrant on a property near Gin Gin in relation to a number of concealed child births more than a decade ago. Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail
CHILD DEATHS: Homicide and the Child Trauma Task Force have executed a crime scene warrant on a property near Gin Gin in relation to a number of concealed child births more than a decade ago. Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail Zach Hogg

EARLIER: Homicide and Child Trauma Task Force have today executed a crime scene warrant on a property near Gin Gin.

The search of the property is to enable a scientific examination and excavation of an area on the property relating to a number of concealed child births believed to have occurred between the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Scientific Officers from both Central Region and the Forensic Services Group, Scientific Section in Brisbane are assisting investigators in the search of the property.

Investigators from Bundaberg Patrol Group along with Homicide and Child Trauma Task Force officers are currently conducting enquiries and will speak with a number of people over the following days.

 "I can confirm we are conducting investigations into information received regarding allegations a number of child births have been concealed on the property.

 "We will be interviewing a number of persons who may also be able to assist with our investigations over the coming days," Detective Inspector Mick Dowie of the Cold Case Homicide Unit said.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.

Topics:  editors picks, gin gin, police




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