Original police search: Human remains found in car, man charged

VIDEO: Leigh Sharp

Following is a review of the Bendigo Advertiser's coverage of the discovery of William Stevenson's body in the Wellsford Forest and the charging of Wellsford man Darren Lewis with murder back on January 2-3 this year...

UPDATE - FRIDAY, JANUARY 3WELLSFORD 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. 

UPDATE, FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 6.35AM: A Wellsford man will face Bendigo Magistrate's Court on Friday morning charged with murder.

Homicide Squad detectives charged the 46-year-old man after the discovery of human remains in a burnt out vehicle belonging to missing Kerang man William Stevenson in Wellsford on Wednesday afternoon.

The Wellsford man has been charged with one count of murder.

UPDATES, THURSDAY, JANUARY 2...

4.50PM: A 46-year-old man and 36-year-old woman remain in custody, where they are helping police  with their inquiries regarding human remains found in Wellsford Forest. 

UPDATE 3.50PM: Two people are in police custody and are assisting police with their inquiries regarding human remains found in Wellsford Forest. 

Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles confirmed remains were found in the boot of a missing Kerang man's 1996 green Mitsubishi Magna sedan.

He was reported missing after he failed to turn up to work in Prairie, near Bendigo, on December 27.

UPDATE 3.20PM: Police are calling for any information regarding the finding of human remains in a burnt out car in Wellsford Forest. 

Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles said it appeared the vehicle had been moved by a four-wheel drive after being set alight. 

He urged anyone who had moved the car, or knew any further information, to contact police. 

"If someone has moved the car, they are not in trouble, we just need to eliminate all possibilities," he said. 

He said it was "odd" no one had reported the fire. 

A Goornong police officer located the burnt out car yesterday afternoon during a search of the forest. 

Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles said no cause of death had been determined.

UPDATE 2.30PM: Detectives have confirmed human remains were found in the boot of William Stevenson's car.

Forensic investigators from Melbourne are on scene at Norman Road in Wellsford Forest.

His car is currently being towed away by police. 

A pathologist from the state coroner's office is examining the remains.

Initial reports have suggested it is a deceased male.

Mr Stevenson's family in New Zealand have been notified of the investigation.

UPDATE 2.20PM: Police have confirmed human remains were found in the burnt-out car.

Police believe William Stevenson went to a friend's property, near where the car was found, on Christmas Day.

Police say he left the property about 5pm and has not been seen since.

The burnt-out car was found yesterday by a Goornong police member who was searching the area at the request of detectives.

Police are appealing for public assistance.

Anyone with information should phone Bendigo Police on 5448 1300 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

EARLIER:

Homicide Squad detectives hold grave fears for the welfare of a missing 47-year-old Kerang man after his vehicle was found burnt-out on the side of the road in Wellsford, near Bendigo.

William Stevenson was last seen on Christmas Day at his house in Kerang and was reported missing after he failed to turn up to work in Bendigo on December 27.

His vehicle, a 1996 green Mitsubishi Magna sedan, was located about 5.30pm Wednesday on Norman Road in Wellsford. 

Detectives have established a crime scene and are awaiting forensic testing of the vehicle. 

Detectives believe the burnt-out vehicle may have been on Norman Road for a number of days. It appears to have been pushed back from the road side by another vehicle.

Detectives are investigating the circumstances and are asking anyone in the area who may have seen the vehicle during the last few days, or moved it off the road, to come forward.

Anyone who may have seen Mr Stevenson or his car in the Kerang, Bendigo or Wellsford areas since 25 December should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppers.com.au. 

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