Woman?s skeleton discovered


BY THE time reporters were led down a beaten track in the scrub to the crime scene in Mt Etna National Park, there was not a lot left.

The metres of ground between an access road and an unnamed creek had been cleared of scrub, dug up and sifted for anything that may have been dropped or left behind.

A bug catcher had been set up for an entomologist to later search bugs for any clues they may provide.

While the skeletal remains of an unknown woman, aged between 25 and 40, were in the Rockhampton Hospital about to be exam- ined for clues, police began explaining the scene to reporters early yesterday morning.

"We haven't yet identified the body as the missing person (Nicole Margaret Lieske, 33),'' Central Region Crime Co-ordinator, Detective Inspector Mick Niland, said.

Rockhampton police established a major incident room last Friday in an effort to find Nicole Lieske and had made several calls to the public for help.

"However, we've taken a mouth swab of mum and dad (Colleen Whiffen and Lou Lieske), and both parents have been informed of the find,'' he said.

"All associated scientific material has been transported to the John Tonge facility (in Brisbane) where it will be ana- lysed and they will be able to tell us whether we have a match in relation to the missing person.''

Police are hoping the DNA analysis of the unknown woman and the parents of Ms Lieske will be completed by the end of this week.

"At the moment we are treating the discovery of the skeletal remains as suspicious and it is unknown how many subjects there are,'' Inspector Niland said.

The unknown woman was found on Sunday by State Emergency Ser- vice volunteers, who were back at the scene yesterday searching an area of about 70 hectare for "anything.''

Rockhampton District Inspector Graham Coleman, who showed re- porters through the area, said they were alerted to the sight by locals reporting suspicious activity.

Police, however, would not say when they received the intelligence that led them to an access road off Barmoya Road, just outside The Caves.

SES crews, however, traipsed through dense scrub leaving behind pieces of toilet paper to mark where they had been.

"They (SES) made two sweeps of the area,'' Inspector Coleman said, explaining Sunday's search.

"It was coming back in the other direction that they found the body.''

Inspector Coleman said the body lay on a ledge just above the bottom of a dry creek.

No attempt had been made to dig a grave.

Being skeletal remains Inspector Coleman said they still did not know how long the woman had been dead, but police hoped to get more information when the post-mortem ex- amination was completed today.

"We found some information and we found some remains, now it's up to where the clues take us,'' Inspector Coleman said.

Inspector Niland thanked the SES and the community for their assistance in the investigation and the community for their information.

Anyone with information can phone Rockhampton police on 4932 1500.

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