Man, 46, held on murder charge

WELLSFORD man Darren Lewis has faced the Bendigo Magistrate's Court, charged with the murder of William John Stevenson on Christmas Day. 

Mr Lewis, of Norman Road, Wellsford, appeared via video link just after 11.30am on Friday morning.

The court heard during Friday's filing hearing that extensive analysis of bone fragments was needed.

A detective will also travel to New Zealand as part of the investigation.

Mr Lewis made no bail application and was remanded to appear in the Bendigo Magistrate's Court for a committal mention on May 28.

Homicide Squad detectives charged Mr Lewis after the discovery of human remains in a burnt out vehicle belonging to missing Kerang man William Stevenson in the Wellsford Forest near Epsom on Wednesday afternoon. 

Mr Stevenson, 47, has not been seen since leaving a house, near where the burnt-out vehicle was found, on Christmas Day.

He was reported missing by his boss after not showing up for work at Hazeldene's Chicken two days later.

A police officer located Mr Stevenson's burnt-out car at Norman Road, in the Wellsford Forest, on Wednesday afternoon during a search of the area.

Police believe the remains are those of a man but have not released an identity.

Hazeldene's Chickens farming manager Karl Lawson told the Bendigo Advertiser on Thursday that 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 Stevenson worked a succession of jobs in horse racing, farming and manufacturing around the northern parts of New Zealand from 1978 before moving to Australia in August 2011.

Mr Stevenson moved to Kerang in 2012 to take a job as a driver with JRM Freight before joining Hazeldene's Chickens in November last year.

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