Cop’s plea over body in car mystery

Police are investigating whether a submerged vehicle and a body found in a burnt-out car are linked.
Police are investigating whether a submerged vehicle and a body found in a burnt-out car are linked.

More information on one of the vehicles involved in a bizarre series of incidents north of Perth has been released by police.

A man remains under police guard after human remains were found in a burnt-out two-door Nissan Pajero early on Tuesday morning along Indian Ocean Drive near Jurien Bay, more than 200km north of Perth.

Police are investigating whether the car fire is linked to a sea rescue later that morning off Cervantes Jetty, about 25km south of Jurien Bay.

A car was found on fire near Jurien Bay in the early hours of Tuesday, with police later in the day confirming human remains were found inside. Picture: 7News
A car was found on fire near Jurien Bay in the early hours of Tuesday, with police later confirming human remains were found inside. Picture: 7 News

On arrival, police found a small, red car submerged in the water, while a boat was spotted drifting out to sea with a man on-board.

The 20-year-old was acting erratically and jumped into the water before being rescued soon after by a nearby fishing vessel.

He was taken for medical treatment and is assisting police with their investigation, with no charges laid at the time of writing.

Police later found another vehicle submerged in water at Cervantes, with a man acting erratically on a nearby boat. They're investigating if the events are connected. Picture: 7News
Police later found another vehicle submerged in water at Cervantes, with a man acting erratically on a nearby boat. They're investigating if the events are connected. Picture: 7News

At a media conference on Wednesday afternoon, Detective Senior Sergeant Greg McDonald, from the WA Police Major Crime Division, appealed for anyone who saw the white Pajero on Monday night to come forward.

“The movements of that vehicle, and how it came to be on fire, are of great interest to us,” Sergeant McDonald said.

“We are aware that that vehicle was in the Hamilton Hill area about 9pm (Monday) night. It’s travelled via Canning Highway, Mitchell Freeway, Indian Ocean Drive and arrived at the location in Cervantes where it was subsequently on fire.”

Hamilton Hill is a southern suburb of Perth, with the drive to Cervantes taking nearly three hours under normal road speed and conditions.

cervantes jurien bay incident media conference
The white two-door Nissan Pajero left the southern Perth suburb of Hamilton Hill about 9pm on Monday night before being found on fire just north of Cervantes about 12.30am. Picture: Google Maps

“It’s likely it would have attracted attention because we believe it was travelling at speed during that trip … it certainly would not have appeared in the timeframe that we’re aware of to have abided by the speed limit,” Sergeant McDonald said.

Both vehicles were recovered by investigators and being forensically examined after being relocated to the Perth area.

Sergeant McDonald said working out if the two incidents were linked was the focal point of their investigation.

“There have been no charges preferred … there are two distinct incidents here. They may well be linked,” he said.

cervantes jurien bay incident media conference
Detective Senior Sergeant Greg McDonald appealed for anyone who saw the white Pajero on Monday night to come forward.

He added that police were aware of the owners of both vehicles but couldn’t disclose those details.

“We’re investigating (the owner of the red car), their whereabouts, whether they were in possession of the vehicle, whether other people may have been in possession of the vehicle or not,” he said.

In an earlier statement, police said “nothing suspicious” had been located inside the submerged vehicle retrieved from the ocean.

Police are still seeking dashcam footage from vehicles travelling in both directions along Indian Ocean Drive from 9pm on Monday to 12.30am on Tuesday or anyone who may have seen the Pajero speeding or driving erratically.

Anyone with information that may assist police is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or to make a report online.