Adelaide man likely murdered at Kilburn unit, police say

A well-meaning passer-by who came to the aid of a bogged vehicle in the Adelaide Plains may hold the key to the disappearance and suspected murder of 32-year-old Michael Jeffrey Purse.

While Mr. Purse was not reported missing until 24 April, Major Crime investigators can reveal that he likely met with foul play weeks earlier, about Thursday 7 February.

It is known that Mr. Purse was involved in the illicit drug trade, as well as fraud offending, with associates in Adelaide’s western and southern suburbs.

Photograph of Michael Jeffrey Purse

Michael Jeffrey Purse

Superintendent Des Bray, Officer in Charge of Major Crime Investigation Branch, said Mr. Purse spent the evening of 6 February in the Adelaide CBD and at the Casino before attending Unit 17/415 Churchill Road, Kilburn.

“We have established with some certainty that Mr. Purse remained at the Kilburn unit, in the company of three other men and two women and some of those played a role in Michael’s disappearance”, said Supt. Bray.

Detectives suggest that Mr. Purse was likely killed at the Kilburn address in the early hours of the following morning on Thursday 7 February, before his body was stowed in the boot of a green 2000 Daewoo Lanos Hatch, later captured driving north of the city by traffic cameras nearby Globe Derby Park.

Photograph of similar green 2000 Daewoo Lanos Hatch (Front View)
Photograph of similar 2000 green Daewoo Lanos Hatch (Rear View)

Front and rear view of a similar 2000 model green Daewoo Lanos Hatch

“Sometime between 5am and 8.30am, that vehicle has become bogged in the Adelaide Plains region”, said Supt. Bray.

“Finding themselves in broad daylight, the parties involved have aborted their attempt to dispose of Mr. Purse’s body, and returned to the Kilburn unit.”

Detectives believe that in the early hours of Friday 8 February, the offenders subsequently returned to the Adelaide Plains and disposed of Mr Purse’s body.

“It’s our belief that an unknowing member of the public assisted in freeing the bogged Daewoo, but we are yet to identify that person.

“We’re imploring that witness who helped to free them from the bog to please phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 between 5pm and 9pm this evening, and ask to speak with Major Crime.”

If you know something, say something. Call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at

Map of location where police believe the green Daewoo Lanos became bogged.

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