Is this Sharron Phillips' watery grave?

LATEST: Homicide detectives believe a new witness who has come forward after their conscience got the better of them could hold the key to one of the state's most enduring murder mysteries.

Police immediately acted on the highly credible information and started excavating land near a storm water drain at Carole Park in the hope of locating Sharron Phillips' remains.

Ms Phillips, 20, disappeared on May 8, 1986 after her car ran out of petrol about 11pm near the Wacol army barracks.

She had called her boyfriend from a service station and asked him to pick her up but when he arrived, she was gone.

Ms Phillips has not been seen or heard from since and is presumed to have been murdered.

No one has been charged over her death.

Homicide detectives and forensic officers will oversee the excavation of a roadway and culvert at the site.
Homicide detectives and forensic officers will oversee the excavation of a roadway and culvert at the site. Inga Williams

Detective Inspector Damien Hansen said on Tuesday police had started digging at the Cobalt St site after receiving credible new information.

He said police were confident of locating Ms Phillips' remains in the storm water drain given the high level of detail the witness provided them.

"With recent media we have had a person come forward that has provided the homicide squad with some information," he said.

"As a result we have started excavating this scene and we are looking for Sharron's remains.

"The aspects of what they say have been verified in a lot of detail from previous investigations.

"If the information is correct, we are hopeful of getting a result."

Detective Inspector Hansen remained tight-lipped as to what exactly the person told investigators but said they had not been spoken to previously.

He said the person had come forward in the past fortnight but would not divulge what relationship, if any, the witness had with Ms Phillips.

"This is only information and is certainly not a confession." he said.

"The process for this search and the area we are interested in is the drains which go under the roadway.

"The process will involve manually shovelling the soil from those drains then it will be transported to another area where it will be sifted through.

"If there is anything found, we will have to send it away for forensic testing which could take some time.

"We have spoken to experts and they are confident if there are human remains in the drains then we should find something."

Detective Inspector Hansen said police did not have enough information to search bushland beside the family home at Riverview.

He said recent speculation Ms Phillips' remains could be in the bushland were at this stage unfounded.

"If we had specific information regarding the bushland, and if there was specific information that would lead us to an area within the bushland we would act on it," he said.

"But the information we have is not to the standard we can act upon on.

"The family has given us some information but it is not detailed enough to warrant a search and we have told the family in detail about that.

"We have to obtain crime scene warrants to conduct these type of searches and we cannot just go on someone's gut feeling or suspicions."

Detective Inspector Hansen said the drains police would be focusing on were 35m in length and contained more than 100 cubic metres of soil.

He said the drains were installed in 1975 when the area was total bushland and the area had not been searched before.

The search site is about 10km from where Ms Phillips was last seen alive.

 

UPDATE TUESDAY: Mystery witness comes forward in Sharron Phillips case

Police say they are confident of finding an answer to the murder mystery that has baffled them for more than 30 years.

A witness has come forward with new information that has led police to a culvert off Cobalt St at Carole Park, where digging equipment is being used to search for the remains of Sharron Phillips.

Police have created a crime scene in the area after receiving what they describe as "very credible" information on the location of Ms Phillips' remains.

Police said today that a new witness had come forward and provided them with information that backed up previously known information about the case.

The excavation will focus on a 30m section of drain running underneath Cobalt St, with an estimated 100 tonnes of earth to be moved.

Although police remain tight-lipped on the identity of the informant, they told the QT that the person approached them after their conscience got the better of them, following a recent series of media reports coinciding with the 30-year anniversary of Ms Phillips' disappearance and suspected murder.

Police say the drain pipes were built in 1975 and the area involved was only recently developed into industrial land.

The search area is not related to the site where Ms Phillips' family once lived.

What we know:

  • Sharron Phillips has been missing since her car ran out of petrol on Ipswich Rd at Wacol about 11pm on May 8, 1986.
  • Later that month, Sharron's purse and shoes were found a short distance from where she left her car.
  • In July 1986, a $50,000 reward was announced for any information on the disappearance.
  • Two years later, questions began to emerge regarding the possible involvement of the nearby Wacol Army Barracks, and the Phillips family lobbied then-Defence Minister Kim Beazley for an inquiry.
  • Soldiers at the barracks were cleared of any involvement.
  • In the early 1990s, Sharron Phillips signs were placed on the Ipswich Motorway.
  • Sharron's father Bob died on August 23, 2015. Family members later questioned whether Bob had any involvement in his daughter's murder.

 

EARLIER: Police have revealed they will begin excavating an Ipswich street after receiving new information in the Sharron Phillips case.

Ms Phillips is presumed to have been murdered after going missing on May 8, 1986.

The case has baffled detectives for three decades, but today police say new information has led them to Cobalt St, Carole Park.

Homicide detectives and forensic officers will oversee the excavation of a roadway and culvert at the site.

"We have confirmed previously that any new evidence or information provided to us that could further our investigation would be followed up and investigated accordingly," Acting Detective Superintendent Damien Hansen of the Homicide Group said.

"We can confirm we have received new information and for this reason, we have commenced the excavation at this location."



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