HAZELDENE’S Chickens staff have been shocked by the discovery of human remains in a burnt out car belonging to missing work colleague William Stevenson.
Two people have been arrested after police found the burnt out car and body in the Wellsford Forest near Bendigo on Wednesday afternoon.
Police have confirmed the remains are male but have not released an identity.
Hazeldene's Chickens farming manager Karl Lawson said Mr Stevenson had worked as a casual at the Prairie broiler complex since November 25 last year.
''He was a really good worker, very conscientious,'' Mr Lawson said.
''He was very well liked. A very good young man.’’
Mr Lawson said Mr Stevenson had left the farm at 2.30pm on Christmas Day and staff had become concerned when he failed to return on December 27.
''It was out of character for him not to turn up and not to phone up and let people know,'' he said.
''We’ve been hunting around trying to find him.
''We had police involved trying to find him. We said it was strange and out of character.
''I’ve been up to that farm today speaking to the staff. They were all thinking something is weird here. We were thinking the worst and obviously that’s what’s happened.’’
Mr Lawson said Mr Stevenson was an employee with great potential.
‘’He got along well with staff and management,'' he said.
''He was just a good guy – there was nothing you could fault him on.
‘’In the short time he had been with us, we thought this was a guy we could take places.
‘’He stood out – he shone above quite a lot of people as a fresh person on the farm who had never worked in poultry before.’’
William Stevenson worked a succession of jobs in horse racing, farming and manufacturing around the northern parts of New Zealand from 1978 before heading to Australia in August 2011.
Mr Stevenson took a variety of jobs in Swan Hill until December 2011 when he joined McInerney Freight as a truck driver.
He moved to Kerang in 2012 to take a job as a driver with JRM Freight before joining Hazeldenes Chickens in November last year.