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Bodies found ‘in surf bags’ in hunt for missing TV presenter Jesse Baird and his partner Luke Davies

Police have found the bodies of former Australian TV presenter Jesse Baird and his flight attendant partner Luke Davies after the couple went missing last week.

Police believe the two men were murdered in Mr Baird‘s Sydney home last week, and have arrested a New South Wales police officer who used to date the TV host.

Human remains were discovered at a property in the small town of Bungonia, about two hours drive southwest of Sydney, on Tuesday.

“We believe we have located two bodies,” said New South Wales police commissioner Karen Webb. “The families have been informed. And crime scene detectives have just arrived on scene at that location now.”

New South Wales Police Force senior constable Beau Lamarre-Condon, who dated Baird until late last year, was charged on Friday with the murders of both men.

He “provided assistance” in locating the remains, said Detective Superintendent Daniel Doherty at a press conference on Tuesday. He added: “This is a breakthrough for this investigation.”

A man stands outside the Paddington residence of Jesse Baird in Sydney on Tuesday (AP)
A man stands outside the Paddington residence of Jesse Baird in Sydney on Tuesday (AP)

He said: “There were two surf bags that have been found. And some debris and other items of interest, of significance.” He added that the bodies were “found upon a fence line [the boundary between two properties], near the entrance to the property”.

Investigators suspect that the bodies were moved from Baird’s home in Paddington in surf bags, with a rented van used to bring them to the rural property in Bungonia.

“They were covered in debris and the state of the bodies won’t be known until we do a proper crime scene investigation, and from there we’ll be able to have a post-mortem conducted as well,” said Mr Doherty.

New South Wales police conduct a line search on a rural property on Hazelton Road in Bungonia (EPA)
New South Wales police conduct a line search on a rural property on Hazelton Road in Bungonia (EPA)

The case has gripped Australia and is believed to be the first suspected case of murder by a serving New South Wales police officer, prompting a review of access to firearms by an off-duty officer.

“It’s a failure if someone has used their service firearm in the manner that’s alleged, which is why it’s necessary to have a review,” Ms Webb had said last week.

Meanwhile, organisers of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras have asked police not to march at their annual parade this weekend, following the alleged murder of the couple.

The Mardi Gras’ board said LGBT+ communities across Australia had been devastated by the loss of the couple, who had planned to celebrate at the parade on Saturday.

“The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras board feels that having the New South Wales Police march this year could add to the distress within our communities, already deeply affected by recent events. The board has taken the decision to request that the police do not march in the 2024 parade,” the board said on Monday.

Police conducted extensive searches of the area before the bodies were eventually discovered (EPA)
Police conducted extensive searches of the area before the bodies were eventually discovered (EPA)

“This decision was not made lightly, especially considering that many NSW Police members who participate in the parade are also members of the LGBTQIA+ community and are navigating the impact of this tragedy alongside us. However, we believe that their participation at this year’s event could intensify the current feelings of sorrow and distress,” the board added.

Ms Webb, who has taken part in the annual march since 2006, urged the board to reconsider its decision. “We’re not dealing with a gay hate crime here. We’re dealing with a domestic homicide and ... I’m disappointed [by] the position the Mardi Gras board has taken on this issue,” she said, adding that it is the “time to come together”.

She also received support from independent lawmakers. “It’s really important that the LGBTQ community know that the police are there to protect us, that we can report crime to them. That said, a lot of work needs to be done on the police’s side here,” said independent state lawmaker and gay activist Alex Greenwich.

Additional reporting by agencies