Australia outback: family found dead, child missing in Northern Territory

The landscape near the remote Northern Territory area where the bodies were found

The bodies of two adults, both 19, and their three-year-old son were found late on Wednesday on a remote road near Willowra, about 300 kilometres north of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

On Thursday afternoon, police said a child's body had been discovered 120 meters (400 feet) from the family but wouldn't confirm whether it was the missing child. They said the three people may have died from exposure a couple of days ago and not as a result of the crash.

"Further enquiries indicate it is possible a 12-year-old boy was a passenger in the vehicle and was not among the three people found dead", police said.

The search was set to continue until police were able to completely rule out that there weren't other people in the auto.

The group was last seen leaving Willowra, a small community, on Friday.

Police do not believe the deaths are suspicious, and food and water were found at the scene.


"At this point, we hold grave concerns for the welfare of this child", superintendent Jody Nobbs told reporters Thursday.

Duty Superintendent Shaun Gil told ABC Radio on Thursday investigators originally thought the incident was the result of a auto crash, but then realised that was not the case. "He's quite distraught about what he's found", he said.

Authorities were alerted to the incident after a man raised the alarm at the Willowra Health Clinic just before 12.30pm on Wednesday.

'This does serve, unfortunately, as a timely reminder for anyone travelling on NT roads to ensure that when you travel your vehicle is in a fit state, that you have sufficient supplies including water and a first aid kit, and that someone is aware of what your travel itinerary is - when you intend to leave, arrive and your anticipated routes, ' he said.

Police are calling on anyone with information in relation to the whereabouts of the child to contact them immediately on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.

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