Widow vows to continue body hunt
THE Far Northern coroner has chosen not to hold an inquest into the death of murdered gold prospector Bruce Schuler, but his Cooktown widow vows she will never stop trying to bring him home.
Fiona Splitt had hoped an inquest would push his murderers Stephen Struber and Dianne Wilson-Struber into finally revealing the location of his body.
"It feels final and I don't know whether I'm ready for final," Ms Splitt said.
"I do understand that these are inhuman people and it was going to be a waste of everybody's time.
"But if they think I'm just going to lay down and be quiet now they're in for a shock.
"I'll just keep looking for ways to bring him home."
Mr Schuler was killed on July 9, 2012, while prospecting on Palmerville Station in Cape York.
"I have decided not to hold an inquest into the circumstances of Bruce Gavin Schuler's death because my coronial investigation has revealed sufficient information to enable me to make findings about his death," Coroner Nerida Wilson said.
Mr Struber and Ms Wilson-Struber were seen travelling in a vehicle towards where Mr Schuler was gold detecting. About 10-15 minutes later three people heard two gunshots.
Traces of Mr Schuler's DNA and blood were found nearby but his remains have never been located.
"Based on the totality of circumstantial evidence, it is my conclusion, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr Schuler died as a result of injuries suffered after being shot by Mr Struber and/or Ms Wilson- Struber," Coroner Wilson said.
In 2015 the pair were convicted of murder and are currently serving life terms with no chance of release under the no body, no parole laws.
The couple won't speak about their involvement or the location of his body.
"It seems unlikely that an inquest will result in Mr Struber and Ms Wilson-Struber breaking their silence," Coroner Wilson said.
"I offer my sincerest condolences to Ms Splitt and to the Schuler family for their loss."
Now that Coroner Wilson has finalised her investigation a death certificate can be issued, meaning Ms Splitt will be able to sell their joint properties to help ease any financial burden.
"Where do I go from here to get him back? What do we do to try and get them … to tell us where he is?" she said.
That one question has plagued her thoughts for six years through the couple's arrest, murder trial, Appeal and High Court appeals and the introduction of no body, no parole legislation.
"I think that's the frustrating part," she said. "Now this and still no Bruce."