PREPARE FOR A MURDER HUNT
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL, ZOE SATHERLEY AND HEATH GILMORE
THE scene was set for a murder hunt yesterday with police suspicions hardening over the discovery of a concealed body.
At a press conference yesterday, Richmond Local Area Commander Supt Bruce Lyons confirmed they were treating the death as 'extremely suspicious'.
Supt Lyons said the body was female, but that it would be at least 24 hours before it could be identified formally at the Glebe morgue in Sydney.
It is expected the police will name missing German tourist Simone Strobel, 25, as the dead woman.
Ms Strobel, from Wuerzburg in Bavaria, was staying with three companions at the Lismore Tourist Caravan Park when she went for a walk alone about 11pm last Friday.
She was travelling with her boyfriend Tobias Suckfuell, 24, his sister Katrin Suckfuell, 28, and Ms Suckfuell's boyfriend, Jens Martins, 25.
The group had been travelling around Australia in a campervan and were on their way to Nimbin when they stopped off at Lismore.
Yesterday, police only divulged a few new details about the suspected murder.
However, their investigations are now being carried out against a background of national and international media attention, coupled with criticism from Simone's boyfriend.
Mr Suckfuell has lashed out at police over what he said were major delays in locating his girlfriend, who went missing seven days ago. (See report Page 5).
Yesterday, Supt Lyons gave the first formal indication police were handling a murder investigation, downplaying any criticism.
"We are treating this inquiry as highly suspicious. Once the post-mortem is conducted, we will know further," he said.
"The location of the body has immediately aroused our suspicions, together with the disappearance of Simone."
A police dog made the discovery on Thursday of a woman's decomposing body, which was found underneath shrubbery, small trees and palms towards the back right-hand corner of the Continental Club's bocce court, near the corner of Uralba and Dawson streets.
The body was less than 100 metres from Ms Strobel's camping site in the Lismore Tourist Caravan Park, across Uralba Street.
Supt Lyons said he believed the body had been in the area where it was found near the Continental Clubhouse in Uralba Street for several days.