Missing Victorian man’s body found in SA desert

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 13 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Desperate family and friends are joining the search for a missing Melbourne man in outback South Australia.

FOR three months, the mother, family and friends of Dane Kowalski traversed Australia, never giving up in the search for their mate.

As recently as Friday morning Vera Kowalski, said she had a "gut feel" her son was still alive.

More friends were heading to SA's Far North to search after his ute was found in barren country, 95km south of Coober Pedy, on Tuesday.

But their worst fears were realised just after midday when police found Mr Kowalski's body 340m from where his ute was located.

It marked a tragic end to a search that had taken friends from Wilson's Promontory to Darwin and many places in between in the hope they would find Mr Kowalski.

Police have ruled out foul play, but investigations are ongoing as to the circumstances of Mr Kowalski's death.

Dane Kowalski's mother, Vera Kowalski, outside the Coober Pedy Police Station on Friday morning after she was briefed on the search for her son. Photo: Tom Huntley.

SA Police Far North LSA Inspector Ian Humby confirmed the grim news yesterday afternoon.

"Unfortunately ... we discovered a body, a person some 340m away from where the car was discovered in bushland, and currently we're working with his mother and family and providing them with as much support as we possibly can," he said.

"It's obviously a very difficult time for them and we certainly convey our condolences to them.

"We are in the process now of preparing a report for the coroner and there is no evidence at the scene to in any way suggest foul play."

True to their efforts of the past three months, Ms Kowalski, other family members including an aunt and a brother, and friends of her son had travelled to Coober Pedy after hearing the ute had been found. Despite not hearing a word from Mr Kowalski, 27, since he left his Melbourne home en route to Darwin on December 13, his loved ones had remained optimistic.

Dane Kowalski's ute where it was found in the desert. Source: SA Police.

"My gut feeling is (Dane) is still alive, that's not wishful thinking," Ms Kowalski said about 9am yesterday.

But the harsh reality of the SA Outback where her son was missing hit Ms Kowalski hard when she went to the area being searched.

Flies swarmed over the site, a few hundred metres off a bumpy dirt track and about 4km from the Stuart Highway.

STAR Group, SES and CFS volunteers walked methodically in a grid across hundreds of metres of dust and rocks covering the ground near the track, cutting through the desolate Ingomar Station. "How could anyone survive out here?" Ms Kowalski said. "I just don't know.

"I just don't understand why he would have been off the beaten track this far."

Dane Kowalski was last seen on December 13 last year.

Just hours before Mr Kowalski's body was found, a post on the Find Dane Facebook page told of how more of his mates were heading to Coober Pedy to join the search.

Two hours later, they were sharing the news that they had long feared with almost 37,000 followers.

"We can confirm that Dane has been found deceased," the post read. We are all absolutely heartbroken and lost. Dane was one of a kind and completely irreplaceable.

"We never gave up hope for you Dane. We love you and you will be dearly missed.

"You were our heart and soul. You will never be forgotten. Thank you to everyone."

An SA Police STAR Group officer and Coober Pedy SES volunteers search for Dane Kowalski 95km southwest of Coober Pedy. Photo: Tom Huntley.

Coober Pedy SES volunteers search for Dane Kowalski 95km southwest of Coober Pedy. Photo: Tom Huntley.

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