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



Licence to disperse flying foxes one step closer

Dispersal of flying foxes in Duaringa will take place next week.

Councillors at odds over solution to dispersal of bats

Hogan plans to rebel if Australia Day scrapped

MP Kevin Hogan

"I don't support the changing the date for Australia Day”

Third time lucky for memorial day

REMEMBRANCE: Loved ones and fellow truck drivers will come from as far as Sydney and Queensland to remember those who have lost their lives on the roads at the Grafton Truck Drivers Social Club Memorial Wall Service on Saturday.

Truck drivers memorial service scheduled for this Saturday

Local Partners

PHOTO GALLERY: Camera club captures Upper Clarence beauty

THE majestic landscape and wildlife in the surrounds of Coombadjha Art Studio provided the perfect backdrop for a Grafton Camera Club photo camp.


Jemma's bewitching voice

STAGE PRESENCE: Suzie Mathers and Jemma Rix in a scene from Wicked The Musical.

Wicked musical theatre star Jemma Rix has released her debut album.

The finance solution for Clarence Valley's poorest residents

GOOD BUSINESS: Director Dr Masum Isa and CEO of Grameen Australia Duncan Power with Bendigo Community Bank South Grafton director Karen Toms and chair Peter James.

Social business group provides beneficial alternative to welfare

This laughter yoga video will have you in fits of giggles

BEST MEDICINE: Karen Flannery is spreading happiness through laughter throughout Hervey Bay.

New members needed for a laughing good time

OPINION: Bachelor really crossed the line

Leah’s abrupt Bachelor exit is slut-shaming at its worst.

Marvel stars tease superhero epic

The four year wait for Marvel's The Defenders is over.

The Defenders stars on their long-awaited superhero team-up.

The two stars who intimidated Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth was intimidated by two other Hollywood stars.

Thor star says he was ‘weirdly shaken’ when he met two other actors.

Sam Newman: How a Playboy magazine changed everything

The new crew of The Footy Show.Source:Supplied

How a Playboy magazine changed everything.

Leah slams Matty: ‘I was incredibly disappointed’

Leah says she was ‘incredible disappointed’ with Matty J.

BACHELOR evictee's controversial chat with Kyle and Jackie O.

John Eales finds peace with the haka

Inia Maxwell and John Eales in a scene from the documentary John Eales Reveals: The Haka.

Rugby legend is on a quest to learn about a sacred Maori tradition/

The Bachelor recap: Secret pasts publicly exposed

Matty J is left speechless on The Bachelor.

TWO Bachelor contestants’ secret adult pasts have been exposed.

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