Mystery over bodies found in burnt car
By TOBY WALKER
THE circumstances surrounding the deaths of two people found in a burnt-out car between Grafton and Casino on Tuesday night remain shrouded in mystery.
A passing motorist alerted police to the 1985 Ford Laser sedan, leading them to the macabre discovery about 6.45pm.
The vehicle was found parked in the middle of a section of cleared pine forest on a dirt track, known as the Old Lookout Road.
It is about five kilometres south of Whiporie.
The car was easily visible to passing traffic on the Summerland Way as forensic investigators began their work yesterday morning behind police tape strung across the entrance to the area.
According to customers of the Whiporie General Store, the car's presence in the days leading up to the find had not been deemed unusual because the track was a well-known stopping point for passing motorists.
Yesterday Clarence Valley detectives and forensic experts from Coffs Harbour sealed off the area at the Old Lookout Road, a place know to locals as the Banyabba Pit, to begin their investigations.
In the middle of an open expanse of cleared pine forest about 400m from the road sat the charred remains of the vehicle, its paintwork replaced by a mosaic of scorch marks.
Inside sat two yet-to-be-identified corpses.
The nature of the find has meant details stemming from the discovery have been limited, with no information forthcoming on the sex, age or place of residence of the bodies.
Whiporie General Store owner Peter Campbell yesterday wondered aloud about regular customers he hadn't seen in a few days after learning of the grisly discovery so close to his business.
"Everyone's coming in, thinking about whether they haven't seen someone for a while," he said.
"I guess we just hope that they're (the bodies) just some people passing through and not someone local."
According to Mr Campbell some of his customers had noticed the car on their daily trips along the road.
His store is their one-stop-shop, stocking everything from alcohol to feed pellets, and is the only place to buy fuel for almost 50km if you happen to run out.
One man told him he was sure it had been there since last Thursday because he distinctly remembered pointing it out to his daughter as they passed.
Police have remained tightlipped since reports on the find began yesterday morning, leaving the possibility of it being a murder, suicide ? or both ? open to speculation.
Until police are able to learn more themselves Mr Campbell will no doubt be the one fielding questions from inquisitive travellers passing through the sleepy village.
"This sort of things puts Whiporie on the map, but not for the right reasons," he said.