News

Skeleton in car: The moment fisher found underwater tomb

UPDATE: THE car winched from Borumba Dam on Thursday has been confirmed as that of missing person Stuart Gatehouse.

But Sunshine Coast Crime Group officer Detective Inspector Dave Drinnen said results of forensic examinations being conducted on skeletal remains found inside would need to be finalised before they could confirm whether or not they had found the man missing for 13 years.

Mr Gatehouse would have turned 58 on Thursday.

"At this stage it is far too early in the investigation to be making any speculation as to who the deceased person that was located in that vehicle," Det Insp Drinnen said.

He said a post mortem examination was also being conducted to determine the cause of the occupant's death.

"We have not been able to establish what has transpired in relation to the vehicle that has been located submerged in the dam."

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

He would neither confirm nor deny reports a firearm was also retrieved from the submerged car.

The red VL Holden Commodore was identified by a fisherman using a depth sounder during a contest on the dam on March 25.

It was reported to police later that day.

Basstasstic Fishing Club competition organiser Russell Nowland was on the water when one of his fellow club members came across it.

"We've come across all sorts of stuff with the electric sounders," Mr Nowland said.

He was shocked to learn on Thursday 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

He was also surprised by the length of time between the car find being reported and its retrieval.

Det Insp Drinnen said heavy rain and flooding had delayed the retrieval of the car.

"You have to remember that we went through a fairly major weather event over that period," Det Insp Drinnen said.

"The information at the time... all we had was an object that was in the water and its quite deep out at the dam there.

"So when we get divers up here this is where we come to."

He was unaware if a police search of the dam had been conducted in the 13 years since Mr Gatehouse went missing.

Clayton's heavy recovery equipment recovered the car from the dam yesterday afternoon. 

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


EARLIER: POLICE have retrieved a car from a Sunshine Coast dam in a possible break through to a 13-year missing person investigation.

Police divers and tow truck drivers winched a red VL Holden Commodore from Borumba Dam near Imbil on Thursday afternoon.

The car was submerged in the vicinity of a boat ramp.

Sunshine Coast district crime services officer Detective Acting Inspector David Somerville said a fisherman had located a large object underwater a few weeks ago.

Det Act Insp Somerville said there were skeletal remains inside the car.

Police divers have retrieved a red VL Holden Commodore from Borumba Dam near Imbil. Photo: 7 News
Police divers have retrieved a red VL Holden Commodore from Borumba Dam near Imbil. Photo: 7 News 7 News

They have been taken for forensic examination.

The car has also been taken for scientific examination.

Det Act Insp Somerville said because the investigation was in such early stages police could not confirm whether or not the remains were those of missing person Stuart Gatehouse.

He said the car did have number plates attached but police were still working to get in touch with family members with links to those plates.

Mr Gatehouse was 45 years old when he went missing when on a trip to Gympie in 2004.

The Tasmanian man had been living in Kenilworth before his disappearance.

Missing man Stuart Gatehouse was last seen in 2004.
Missing man Stuart Gatehouse was last seen in 2004. Contributed

Family members previously said Mr Gatehouse had been on his way to Maryborough to visit a relative but never arrived.

Police said he had been driving a red VL Holden Commodore at the time.

An extensive land and air search was conducted after his disappearance but Mr Gatehouse was never found.

Det Act Insp Somerville said officers were working to determine how the vehicle ended up in the water.

The State Homicide Squad is assisting Sunshine Coast Criminal Investigation Branch detectives with the investigation.

Anyone with information which they believe could be relevant to the investigation is urged to contact police on 1800 333 000.

Topics:  borumba dam editors picks missing person remains search sunshine coast


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

MILLIONAIRE FOUND: Musician sings for joy

Lismore musician was the only winner of the $1m from Monday and Wednesday night's Lotto draw.

A Lismore musician is the recipient of $1 million

Traditional Country music festival across the region

LINE UP: Country singer Reg Poole.

The Cedar Guitar Country Music Awards 2017

My right as a feminist to be on The Bachelor?

As mother of three daughters future seems bleak in Bachelor era

Local Partners

Chaos creates beauty at Lismore City Hall

Acclaimed director brings special performance to Lismore - Out Of Chaos Comes Beauty

A super hot date with Lismore's cowboys

GIG: Poster for the Humans of Lismore show this August 2017.

Humans of Lismore comedy show is on this weekend

Lismore will turn into a Neon Garden this NYE

FUN: The main space at the Tropical Fruits New Year's Party 2015/2016.

Tropical Fruits are also looking for a new club manager

VIDEO: A reflection on self danced to perfection

DYNAMIC: Garry Stewart's Be Your Self Redux, performed by the Australian Dance Theatre.

Be Your Self Redux by Australian Dance Theatre.

Hollywood’s new highest paid actress

JENNIFER Lawrence has been dethroned as Hollywood’s highest paying actress by another star. Can you guess who?

Movie trailer dubbed too racy for TV

Alicia Vikander stars in Tulip Fever.

THE trailer for Tulip Fever is so saucy some networks have banned it

Liz Hurley, 52, has never looked better

She’s definitely not shy to pose in a bikini.

Life in your 50s has never looked as good as it does on Liz Hurley.

Big Bang Theory star spills details about Season 11

Mayim Bialik plays Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory.

MAYIM Bialik has shared some details about what fans can expect.

The Bachelor Australia: Awful joke leaves Matty stunned

Sharlene’s mouth hangs agape after her car crash breakup.

I’m actually one of the bachelorettes — I’m not the external caterer

Samsung set for bigger, beach friendly Note 8

Samsung will be going bigger than ever to launch its Note 8 after this year's launch of the S8.

Water, dust, now sand-resistant?

GoT fan’s epic ‘Littlefinger’ theory

A fan has shared her epic theory on Littlefinger.

SPOILER ALERT: One fan has shared a shock theory.

199 home sites approved in Evans Head

The Evans Head Manufactured Home Estate plans. Zoran Architecture.

Manufactured Home estate approved near aerodrome

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

Developer tears up couple's contract for new home

Jade and Edward Roberts were stung by the sunset clause on the first day of their honeymoon.

The developer has the right to do this under the sunset clause

Reports of Ibrahim family connections to farm and food hub

John Ibrahimat Bluesfest 2012.

REPORTS circulate colourful Sydney family have investments on the NR

Stunning, heritage-listed Coast home going under the hammer

STUNNING: Buderim House, a stunning heritage-listed Queenslander estate, is going to auction.

Coast home that played host to royalty is set for auction

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!