THEY were beaten, stabbed and tied by the ankles and wrists before being forced into a 2m-long metal toolbox, still alive.
Mother-of-three Iuliana Triscaru and Cory Breton were then driven to a nearby dam in a suburb of Logan, south of Brisbane, where they were shot in the head and dumped in the water.
Holes drilled in the sides helped their makeshift coffin sink to the bottom of Scrubby Creek in Kingston, from where police dredged it up yesterday, hauling it out with a crane as the stench of decomposing bodies filled the air.
Police are still establishing a motive for the savage murders but detectives told the Courier Mail they were investigating whether the pair were lured to a unit and murdered because of a drug debt.
Six people appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court yesterday on two murder charges — Ngatokoona Maretti, 36, Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata, 24, Webbstar Latu, 31, Davy Malu Junior Taiao, 21, Stou Daniels, 21, and Trent Michael Thrupp, 22.
Detectives allege the six are drug associates involved with methamphetamine.
The makeshift coffin had holes drilled in the sides to help it sink. Picture: Jono SearleSource:News Corp Australia
Iuliana Triscaru and Cory Breton had gone missing in Logan, south of Brisbane, in January. Picture: Queensland Police ServiceSource:Supplied
The pair had been beaten, tied up and stuffed in the box before it was driven to the creek. Picture: Jono Searle.Source:News Corp Australia
Officers had been searching for Mr Breton, 28, and Ms Triscaru, 31, since they vanished on January 24. The search escalated after Lelan Harrington, a 23-year-old who had been missing since January 25, was found at a Kingston home. Within hours, police established two crime scenes, one at the residence and another on dead-end Mudgee Street.
Daniels and Taiao allegedly bashed Mr Breton as he arrived at a unit in Kingston, zip-tied his hands and ankles and stabbed him in the leg during the struggle. Ms Triscaru then arrived and the two men grabbed her and tied her wrists and ankles with duct tape.
Others joined them and the two victims were forced into the box, which was tied to a green Toyota HiLux ute and driven to Mudgee Street, then the dam.
Detectives allege Thrupp shot both Ms Triscaru and Mr Breton in the head.
He and Tahiata are then alleged to have placed the toolbox in the dam. All of the accused including Maretti, a mother of seven, were yesterday remanded in custody.
Taiao is also charged with possessing methamphetamine.
He and Tahiata are alleged to have drilled holes in the toolbox and dumped in the dam. All of the accused, including Maretti, a mother of seven, were yesterday remanded in custody.
Taiao is also charged with possessing methamphetamine.
Police are looking for a dark green 1999 Toyota HiLux ute believed to have been used to transport the box.Source:AAP
The two friends were shot in the head at Scrubby Creek and then dumped. Picture: Jono SearleSource:News Corp Australia
Six people have been charged with the murder. Clockwise from top left: Webbstar Latu, 31, Ngatokoona Maretti, 36, Stou Daniels, 21, Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata, 24, Davy Malu Junior Taiao, 21, Trent Michael Thrupp, 22.
Maretti’s lawyer Andrew Owens said outside court that she was very shocked by the charges and was missing her children. He said she was an associate of the alleged murder victims, but not a friend.
Defence lawyer Adam Magill, who is representing Latu and Tahiata, told the Courier Mail his clients were in a “horrified state trying to come to terms with the details of the allegations”.
“Obviously the gravity of the situation is becoming evident and I have grave concerns about their mental state,” he said.
Two of the accused were arrested after armed police intercepted their BMW on Gateway Motorway at Belmont, southeast of Brisbane, on Wednesday.
Brisbane Magistrates Court yesterday morning remanded all six in custody. They will next face court on March 21.
Detectives are still searching for two men, aged 32 and 25, who they want to question over the pair’s suspected murders.
Mr Breton’s partner Miranda (left) and Triscaru’s mother Victoria speak to the media at Logan police headquarters on Tuesday. Picture: Ed JacksonSource:AAP
Police use a crane to retrieve the box. Picture: Dan PeledSource:AAP
Police load the box into a van after pulling it out of the dam. Picture: AAP Image/Dan PeledSource:AAP
Supt Hutchinson asked for anyone who saw a dark green HiLux ute on the night of January 24 to contact police. He said police were also searching for two fluorescent ratchet straps, which detectives allege were used to secure the toolbox to the back of the ute.
Supt Hutchinson said the families of the deceased were “devastated” and in shock.
“This is something that has occurred very quickly, obviously it’s just evolved over the last couple of nights, and how the realisation will be hitting everybody of what has occurred.”
He said detectives have worked 24 hours a day on the case.
On Wednesday, police divers, dogs and a helicopter scoured dams, a creek and bushland around the site but failed to discover any trace of the missing pair.
Concerned neighbours near the bushland said their children often went swimming in the dams that surrounded their property.
“We’ve lived here for 30 years and we have never seen anything like this,” Janina Poom told the Courier Mail. “We’re at the end of the street so we get a lot of hoons and the like, but that’s about it.”
A silver Mitsubishi Pajero belonging to Mr Breton was discovered in the carpark of the Cleveland ferry terminal following his disappearance.
He had reportedly discussed going on holiday to Stradbroke Island before he went missing.
He also withdrew $3000 just days before his disappearance, police said.
Ms Triscaru’s mother, Victoria, fronted the media on Tuesday in a public appeal for help to find her daughter.
“I miss her. She’s a very good girl and a very good mum,” she said. “The kids ask me all the time, ‘Where Mummy, where Mummy?’
“I’d be happy with just one call saying, ‘Mama, I’m still alive.’ That’s it.”
Mr Breton’s partner, Miranda, has told reporters of her fears. “Unfortunately, my gut feeling is not very good,” she said.
“Nothing adds up ... it’s like a big puzzle that’s missing a lot of pieces.”
Police officers establish a crime scene near bushland in Kingston, south of Brisbane, as the search continues.Source:AAP
Miranda said Cory had dropped her at the airport as she headed to Newcastle in NSW to visit family. “That was the last time we spoke,” she said.
“He seemed in good spirits. He was talking about starting work with a mate of his that I know who runs a company in trade work of some description.
“I’ve got a million and one scenarios running through my mind as to what may have happened but I just want to know that he’s OK.
“It’s breaking us all that he’s missing — we’ve got a three-year-old daughter who is wondering where he is.
“He didn’t seem to be in trouble.”
Supt Hutchison said on Tuesday: “It’s every possibility they could be in fear for some unknown reason and have gone into hiding.
“There has been suggestion that some of them have decided to start a new life.
“All these are rumours.”