Man kills himself amidst murder probe

16th August 2017 6:29 PM
Tanja Ebert and husband Michael Burdon with their two children. Picture: Facebook
Tanja Ebert and husband Michael Burdon with their two children. Picture: Facebook
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A MAN understood to be the husband of a missing young woman has killed himself at the family's farm this afternoon - just hours after police revealed they were convinced she had been murdered.

Tanja Ebert's husband, Michael Burdon, had told police the 23-year-old mother of two refused to go home to their farm in SA's northeast pastoral region following a trip to Adelaide and left the family car carrying a large sum of money. She has been missing for more than a week.

At 2.30pm on Wednesday, police held a media conference to say they were treating Ms Ebert's disappearance as a murder inquiry.

At 5pm on Wednesday, police said a 41-year-old man had died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the family's property at Oulnina Station - near Mannahill in SA's northeast pastoral district - some time after the media conference.

Police officers were present at the property at the time but no one else was injured.

Police confirmed to The Advertiser that the couple's two children - aged 1 and 3 - are safe and in the care of family members.

An independent commissioner's inquiry has already been launched into the incident and a report will be prepared for the coroner.

Ms Ebert - who was originally from Germany but married an Australian - was last seen on August 8 when Mr Burdon claimed she got out of the family car at Roseworthy and walked off carrying a large amount of cash.

Police were told she left behind Mr Burdon, their two sons and personal possessions including her passport, purse and phone.

The head of SA Police's Major Crime Investigation Branch briefed the media on Wednesday afternoon following an extensive search for Ms Ebert around the Roseworthy grain silos, 50km north of Adelaide.

"We have searched this area today, and have found no trace of this young woman," said Detective Superintendent Des Bray, officer in charge of the Major Crime Investigation Branch.

"We're aware of why they had the money and why she ended up with the money but I probably won't go into that.

"Over the coming days we were unable to find anything consistent with her being alive, for example no contact with friends, no Facebook posts.

Police believe Tanja Ebert, 23, was murdered.
Police believe Tanja Ebert, 23, was murdered.

"At this stage we are treating it as a murder investigation, however we would love to be proved wrong and for Tanja to walk through the door and be OK."

Mounted police and STAR Group officers helped in the search, which was conducted in an area off the Horrocks Hwy, near the grain silos on the northern outskirts of Roseworthy, about 10km from Gawler.

Ms Ebert was reported missing by a relative who contacted police at 10.30am last Thursday.

Mr Burdon, who she met and married shortly after arriving in Australia in 2012, told police that Ms Ebert had left the car as the family headed home to their country station outside Mannahill, northeast of Yunta.

Police were told she had been unhappy in her married life and had told her husband during the car trip that she did not want to return to the station.

Yunta locals told The Advertiser today that the couple were known around town and always seemed "happy".

The pair, along with their children, would often stop at Yunta on their way to Adelaide and were rarely seen apart.

"It is unthinkable but I can't believe that he would do anything, he was nice and they seemed good," one person said.

"We are aware there had been some issues in the marriage, however at this time we are keeping an open mind with regard to suspects," Det Supt Bray said.

"As with matters of this type, we are making inquiries to rule out the involvement of those who saw her last. Unfortunately there have been no signs that she is alive, and we fear she has been murdered."

Police have been liaising with Ms Ebert's family and the German embassy.

Anyone with information that might assist police is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.