The body of missing Victorian mum Karen Ristevski has been found in rugged bushland almost eight months after she vanished following an argument with her husband.
The decomposing body was found by a bushwalker on Monday near a dirt road at Mount Macedon Regional Park and sent for forensic testing to determine identity.
Investigators received the results and informed Mrs Ristevski’s family at their Avondale Heights home on Tuesday afternoon.
Several groups of visitors arrived at the family home on Tuesday evening, while a woman left flowers outside the front gate.
Relatives vowed to help find the person responsible for her murder.
“How a person such as Karen, so full of love, life and laughter, could be left, abandoned, discarded with no thought or emotion shown is unforgivable,” Mrs Ristevski’s aunt Patricia Gray told The Age.
Crime scene set up on Loch Road, on the edge of Macedon Regional Park. Just a few hundred metres from houses pic.twitter.com/gjVzAZeQLZ
— Adam Holmes (@AdamHolmes010) February 20, 2017
“Police can confirm the human remains found at Mount Macedon yesterday are that of missing Avondale Heights woman Karen Ristevski,” police said in a brief statement.
“Missing Persons Squad detectives are appealing for anyone that may have been walking along the dirt track off Loch Road or anyone that may have seen any vehicles to contact them.”
Mrs Ristevski, 47, hadn’t been seen since June 29, 2016 when she apparently left home after an argument with her husband Borce Ristevski.
Mr Ristevski told the Herald Sun in August his wife had vanished after an argument over a few hundred dollars. He stressed his wife had not “done a runner” over their finances.
Mr Ristevski also dismissed claims by his estranged son Anthony Rickard, a confessed ice user, that he had overheard Mrs Ristevski talking about leaving Borce when their daughter Sarah turned 21.
Mrs Ristevski hadn’t used her bank accounts or phone since she disappeared.
Police conducted a number of intense searches, with a cadaver dog brought in from NSW, rivers searched, dams drained and farmland scoured metre by metre.
The dense bush where her remains were found on Monday has also been scoured by police and the SES.
A team of more than 20 SES volunteers carried out a line search on Tuesday.
SES North West regional manager Mal Ross said his units weren’t expected to return on Wednesday.
“That’s it now. We’ve covered the area that police were initially looking at so at this stage we’ve finished,” he told AAP.
The crime scene was cleared and the site, around 60km north of Melbourne, reopened to the public on Tuesday afternoon.
The grim find has shocked locals, with the body discovered close to numerous houses and a golf course.
Local cafe and post office owner Brad Eshuys said many people used the park.
“It’s unsettling it was so close to a residential area in an area that is well used by the locals,” he told AAP.
“I think bushwalkers would go through there, maybe mountain bikers, but not many vehicles.
It’s not a road to anywhere.”
He said many still remembered the body of murdered Melbourne woman Jill Meagher turning up not far from Mt Macedon, in Gisborne South, in 2012.
Locals have laid a bouquet of flowers at the base of a tree near the crime scene.