Specialist dog and handler to assist with police searches, South Australia

A specialist search dog and handler have flown from New South Wales today to assist with SA Police searches at Kimba and Manna Hill.

The NSW Police Force has deployed Dog Unit handler, Senior Constable Adam Aitken, and cadaver dog, Tilly, to assist with the investigation.

Tilly is a three-year-old Labrador trained to locate human remains in cases where a person is missing due to suspicious circumstances or misadventure.

Detective Inspector Billy Thompson, the operations manager of the Major Crime Investigation Branch, said the NSW Police team are in South Australia to help police in relation to the ongoing searches for Scott Redman and Tanja Ebert.

Mr Redman, 19, has not been seen since April 2018 with his disappearance declared a Major Crime. On 21 April he was believed to have been an occupant in a black SUV involved in a brief police pursuit in the Kimba region on Eyre Peninsula.

After police terminated the pursuit it is believed the vehicle turned off the Eyre Highway onto a dirt road.

Two days later, on 23 April, the other occupant of the car was arrested in Whyalla after he hitchhiked from Middleback Range, with the SUV found abandoned on 25 April at Secret Rocks, about 40km east of Kimba.

The associate formally reported Mr Redman missing on 24 April. Since that time police have conducted a number of searches in the area, in addition to making other inquiries in the area and in Adelaide, however they have found no sign of Mr Redman.

Inspector Thompson said Senior Constable Aitken and NSW Police Dog Tilly have travelled to Kimba today and will conduct a further search of key areas tomorrow and on Wednesday.

It is expected the search team will then travel to a property at Manna Hill, about 360km north-east of Adelaide, to search designated areas of the station where Ms Ebert lived with her husband and two sons.

Ms Ebert, 23, was reported missing by her husband and sister-in-law on 10 August 2017 – two days after the last confirmed sighting of her.

Ms Ebert’s husband, Michael Burdon, 41, fatally shot himself at the couple’s property, Oulnina Park Station at Manna Hill, on 16 August while police were present making inquiries into his wife’s disappearance. He remains the only suspect in relation to her suspected murder.

Inspector Thompson said the use of a cadaver dog by SAPOL was unusual but was an example of police using all avenues in order to provide answers in these challenging cases.

“Matters such as these are never considered ‘closed’ by SA Police, and we continue to explore all investigational opportunities,” he said.

Anyone with information relevant to either case should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at www.crimestopperssa.com.au

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