Human remains found in drug-related murder case

Human remains have been found on a property in South Australia's mid-north and are likely those of Robert Atkins, thought to be the victim of a drug-related murder.

Detectives from Task Force Southern returned to the area on Wednesday for the 12th time in 18 months and confirmed the discovery of remains at Minvalara, southeast of Orroroo.

They remain at the scene along with forensic response officers, a forensic anthropologist and State Emergency Service volunteers.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray said police believed from day one Mr Atkins' remains would be found in the area.

While police were still waiting on confirmation from forensic testing, Det Supt Bray said they were proceeding on the basis that the body belonged to Mr Atkins and advised his family as such.

"They were really, really happy that they found him," he told reporters on Thursday. 

"It's just so important for the family.

"Recovery of the remains and giving them a dignified burial is massively important to them."

The body was found at the bottom of a water tank on the property, which has been abandoned for a number of years.

Mr Atkin's death is one of three being investigated by the task force.

Sean Clive Phypers, 32, was charged with his murder this year, with four other people charged in relation to his alleged detention.

Det Supt Bray said police would make an assessment about whether there was sufficient evidence to charge any of the other four offenders with murder too.

Police previously said it would be alleged Mr Atkins was assaulted multiple times and held at a number of locations before being taken to SA's mid-north and killed.

The 29-year-old's death was thought to be linked to the drug trade, along with those of two other men, Trevor King and Jeff Mundy.

Mr King, 41, was found dead at suburban West Lakes in January 2020.

Police believe his death was staged to look like a suicide.

In the months before his death, he was the victim of unlawful detention and serious assaults resulting from a drug debt.

Mr Mundy, 36, was last seen in December 2020. 

His body has not been found, with police suspecting it was disposed of somewhere on South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula. 

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store