Police and SES workers at the scene of the burnt-out vehicle (left) near Barkers Vale.
Police and SES workers at the scene of the burnt-out vehicle (left) near Barkers Vale.

Bones linked to murder

POLICE investigating the murder of Saaid Zaiter have found human remains in rugged bushland on the edge of the Border Ranges National Park, north west of Nimbin.

A spokeswoman for the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad said yesterday that the discovery was made by police and detectives from Strike Force Rohanafter conducting a search of bushland last week.

“A number of human bones were recovered by police and will now undergo forensic testing in an effort to determine the victim’s identity,” she said.

It is believed the bones belong to Mr Zaiter, a suspected drug dealer thought to have been murdered last year.

Six people have been arrested in connection with the murder since a burnt-out Land Rover, loaned to Zaiter by his niece, was discovered at a gravel pit on the Kyogle to Murwillumbah road at Barkers Vale last December.

Extensive forensic examinations were carried out and a massive search by police and SES volunteers followed.

Police achieved a breakthrough in September this year when they successfully extradited Rodney Boyd White and Jessica Birkensleigh to Sydney from Melbourne where they had been appearing in court on another matter.

White, 42 of Chinderah, was charged with murdering Zaiter at Chinderah on December 16, 2008, and Birkensleigh, 22 of no fixed address, was charged as an accessory after the fact.

A third person, Peter John Elefsen, 37, was charged as an accessory several days later after detectives raided his Green Pigeon home near Kyogle and seized a Toyota 4WD.

Last month Ricky Leigh Humphries, 26, of Lismore was also charged with Zaiter’s murder, while his housemate Matthew Grahame Warner, also 26, was charged as an accessory.

Until now all suspects had been arrested on a circumstantial case as no body had been found. Police had said that Zaiter had literally “dropped off the planet” the day the burnt-out Land Rover had been discovered.

Prosecutors told Lismore Local Court in September that the complicated case involved 120 witnesses and phone taps.

Police alleged Zaiter was murdered at a cabin at Chinderah Caravan Park on December 16 last year.

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