Police investigators have been searching for a man who disappeared in 2015 after getting into a car in Brisbane, Queensland. Authorities now say they have made a crucial breakthrough to the case.
Sam Price-Purcell, who was aged 25 at the time, was last seen on Feb. 16, 2015, in the Mitchelton area. Investigators believed he had travelled to Toowoomba where he was met with foul play.
In a press conference today, Detective Acting Inspector David Nicoll said a 36-year-old Michael Jay Evans has been accused of murdering the 25-year-old man. Evans was charged with murder, as well as misconduct with a corpse, and arson of a motor vehicle, according to a police statement.
“This was a crucial breakthrough for us and comes after a comprehensive investigation by detectives,” Nicoll said.
Authorities believe that Evans and Price-Purcell were known to each other and the alleged murder was motivated by an unpaid debt.
Nicoll added that they believe there were a number of people involved in Price-Purcell’s alleged murder and that there was at least one other who was an accessory to the crime.
However, authorities have not been able to locate the remains of the 25-year-old.
“[W]hile this arrest is certainly a significant breakthrough for us, it does not mark the end.
“We still have more work to do and remain committed to bringing all those responsible for Sam’s murder before the court.
“Importantly, Sam’s remains have not been located and police are appealing for anyone with information in relation to Sam’s murder or the location of his remains to contact police,” Nicoll added.
Police have conducted extensive inquiries during the investigation, including the forensic examination of a yellow vehicle—a 2010 Holden Commodore SS sedan—suspected of being involved in the crime last Friday, June 1.
They had also searched the properties at Leyburn and Helidon earlier in the year.
Nicoll said the investigation is still ongoing and police are appealing to the public for information in relation to Price-Purcell’s murder or the location of his remains.
“No piece of information is too small. It’s never too late to come forward,” Nicoll told reporters.