Police have denied claims that human remains have been found in the Outback near where British backpacker Peter Falconio was murdered.
The Sydney Morning Herald published a report claiming officers had found bone fragments near Alice Springs and that they would be tested to see if they belonged to Mr Falconio, who was murdered in 2001.
The bones were supposedly being checked against the Falconio case because of how old they are and where they were found, sources told the newspaper.
The remains were said to have been found in the area where Mr Falconio may have been dumped, within a few hundred kilometres of where he was shot by Bradley John Murdoch.
But Northern Territory Police later said human remains had not been found and the Sydney Morning Herald deleted its article.
“No human remains have been located by Northern Territory Police, and a search is not currently being conducted,” police said in a statement.
Several previous discoveries in the Outback have not turned out to be Mr Falconio’s remains.
Drug-runner Murdoch has refused to say where he left Mr Falconio’s body.
Mr Falconio, 28, and his girlfriend Joanne Lees, then 27, were road-tripping through the Outback in their Combi van on July 14, 2001, when disaster struck.
They were travelling on the Stuart Highway when they were flagged down by the driver of a Toyota Landcruiser.
Its driver, Murdoch, told the young backpackers there was sparks coming out of their van.
As Mr Falconio went to inspect the back of the van, Murdoch pulled a gun on him and shot him in the head.
Murdoch then forced Ms Lees out of the van, binding her wrists with cable ties and forcing her into the back of his Landcruiser.
She was somehow able to escape, hiding in the Outback’s sparse scrub for five hours before she was able to stop a road train and get help.
During Murdoch’s murder trial, it was revealed the killer had also put Mr Falconio’s body into his car, before dumping him somewhere between Alice Springs and Broome – towns almost 2000km apart.
Two years ago, a witness came forward to say they had seen a ute that matched Murdoch’s vehicle parked next to a bridge in the area the day after Mr Falconio’s murder.
Murdoch was found guilty of murder by a unanimous jury verdict in December 2005.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 28 years.
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