The body of a 21-year-old woman has been found in a ‘shallow grave’ in outback South Australia, police say, while her 20-year-old boyfriend is in custody.
South Australia Police have confirmed they are now investigating a homicide following the discovery of a 21-year-old woman’s body buried in a shallow grave in the Flinders Ranges region.
The woman was last seen at Southern Cross Homes on Marion Road at Plympton North about 10pm on Friday night.
She was reported missing on Saturday before major crime detectives interviewed her 20-year-old boyfriend on Sunday.
“We have elevated the investigation and it is being treated as a homicide,” a police spokesman told reporters on Monday afternoon.
The man had taken detectives to Moralana Creek, about 40km north of Hawker, where he showed officers a shallow grave.
“He agreed to show detectives a grave in the Moralana Creek bed, where he said she’d been buried. At the time, he denied any responsibility whatsoever in her death,” the spokesman said.
The shallow grave site was a short distance from the road.
“The site is only 100m off the road (and it is) quite a tranquil setting,” the police spokesman said.
“Sadly, somebody has killed her. She’s been buried there and then the ground has been levelled off and the offender has left.”
The woman’s body was taken to Adelaide for examination.
“Police have exhumed the body and while there will be some time before a positive identification is made, we are proceeding on the assumption that it is the missing person (woman),” the police spokesman said.
“The victim has been (transported) by police air to Adelaide and there will be a post-mortem; hopefully that will be able to determine the exact cause of death.”
Police are unsure whether the man and woman were still in a relationship when she was reported missing.
“The status of that relationship is to be confirmed,” he said.
The man, from suburban Kurralta Park, was arrested for failing to report a death and is expected to appear in Port Augusta Magistrates Court on Tuesday. He has not been charged with causing the woman’s death.
Police said they were investigating vehicles that may have been involved in the transportation of the body.
Investigations are continuing and anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online.