Police have established a crime scene after finding a decomposed body on the site where fugitives Gino and Mark Stocco were arrested near Dunedoo today in the state’s central-west.
The caretaker of the property, a 68-year-old male, was reported missing about four weeks ago. Police found the body at 3.30pm, after scouring bushland.
The Stoccos had evaded a manhunt for the past two weeks. The pair, regarded by police as dangerous outlaws who would not hesitate to shoot, had been on an eight-year-long crime spree up and down the East Coast.
The breakthrough came just one day after police said they no longer had any idea where the men were.
Speaking in Wagga on Tuesday, Superintendent Bob Noble said police were not even sure if the men were still in NSW.
“If we could say with any certainty where they are, there would certainly be a very focused operation around that area. We’ve got an open mind,” he told media.
“We know they’ve got a vehicle that’s capable of putting in large distances without having to be refuelled and we know they’ve shown a propensity to travel around before.”
Gino, 57, and his son Mark, 35, had evaded police from Queensland to Victoria as they allegedly took casual work on remote country farms then vandalised or stole property as they moved on.
The pair, who have served time for identity theft and other crimes, face charges of arson, theft and fraud.
The pair were recognised at a police checkpoint near Wagga Wagga on October 16, but sped away. When police gave chase the pair allegedly opened fire with what police described as a high-powered rifle. Police then formed Strike Force Kalkadoon, a joint operation with the Victoria Police, and warned the public to exercise caution as they were considered ruthless and violent.
A few days later the Stoccos stole a white Toyota Landcruiser with a 145litre fuel tank from a farm near Holbroook in Southern NSW. Several confirmed sightings of the pair and the stolen vehicle were reported, including the ramming of a police car in Castella, Victoria, six days ago and the theft of fuel from a Gundagai service station three nights ago. – Jack Miley