MYSTERY: Suspected murder victim Shaun Matthew Barker.
MYSTERY: Suspected murder victim Shaun Matthew Barker. Contributed

Police find Shaun Barker's car ‘dumped’ in bushland

A TIP-off has helped police find suspected murder victim Shaun Matthew Barker's car, dumped in Gold Coast bushland.

The 33-year-old Gold Coast man's skull was found by forest workers in Toolara State Forest on April 10 and following its identification last week, police appealed for help finding his missing blue Kia Rio.

Gold Coast Detective Superintendent Brian Swan said the car was found burnt out and damaged in places.

While the hatchback was found last Tuesday, June 17, the state it was in meant it took police until Saturday to be sure it was Mr Barker's.

The find follows a public appeal from Mr Barker's family for help finding the car and is a breakthrough for police investigating the father-of-one's suspicious death.

Supt Swan said police had removed the car from the scene for examination. The car was found in council forestry at Pacific Pines at the Gold Coast; about 20km from where he was last seen at a Broadbeach service station on December 10, 2013.

While the stretch of bushland is located behind Gold Coast suburbs, Supt Swan said it would not have been easily accessible without the right vehicles.

He said the terrain would not have been suitable for small cars like Mr Barker's Kia Rio. A search of the Gold Coast bushland near where the car was found delivered nothing of interest.

It is the second time this grisly case has lead police to search secluded forest.

Mr Barker's skull was found in Forestry off Cooloola Coast Rd, and some small bones also belonging to Mr Barker were found in a shallow pit about 95m away.

Supt Swan said while there was nothing to link Mr Barker's suspected murder to the discovery of a dismembered torso along Cedar Pocket Rd last September, police were "keeping an open mind".

DNA testing earlier confirmed the two sets of remains were not that of the same victim. Supt Swan said police were also still investigating if Mr Barker had any links to the Gympie region.

Gympie Times

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