News State Victoria ‘Look, there’s a boot’: Body found in abandoned Melbourne storage locker

‘Look, there’s a boot’: Body found in abandoned Melbourne storage locker

Police converge on the Oakleigh storage centre where the body was found. Photo: ABC/James Oaten
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Suspected human remains have been discovered inside a wheelie bin by workers clearing it out at a storage warehouse in Melbourne’s south-east.

Police were called to Total Self Storage on Milgate Street in Oakleigh South just after 1am on Friday and are treating the matter as suspicious.

Homicide Squad Detective Senior Sergeant Pixie Fuhrmeister said the suspected remains were in a state of decomposition.

“What we’re looking at is what’s possibly a long-term decomposition of a body here so we’ll need to take a fair investigation to get to the bottom of it,” she said.

She said the remains may have been there for more than 15 years.

Anton Hillemacher, one of the workers at the warehouse, said the suspected remains were found inside a wheelie bin, which was discovered inside a container covered in soil.

“I’ve looked in this container and there’s a wheelie bin in there and it had a strap around it, a couple of straps,” he said.

“I’ve cut the straps and the lid’s fallen open and it seemed like there was grass clippings in there, mouldy stuff.”

“So we’ve started scraping away and then someone’s sort of said, ‘Oh look, there’s a boot.”

“They’ve dug away a bit more and sure enough there seemed to be a boot there.

“[Another worker] was pulling back grass clippings … and a couple of the guys had come to the conclusion that there was a body in there.

“It wasn’t until I saw what looked like a foot in a sock in there and I thought, ‘Oh shit’.”

Mr Hillemacher said the sock appeared to be pink.

“It [the suspected remains] was pretty boned out, it was pretty thin,” he said.

Police said the boot was black but would not give any further details.

Detective Sergeant Fuhrmeister said the lot the container was found in had not been accessed for many years and rental payments for the storage unit had stopped.

She said the owners at the warehouse had been cooperative with their records, but a number of storage facilities had been abandoned for years.

The warehouse was sold several months ago, prompting the owner to clear it out.

Detective Sergeant Fuhrmeister said police would review cold cases and look at long-term missing persons for leads.

The suspected human remains have been sent for forensic testing.

Homicide Squad detectives are investigating and police are expected to be at the scene for several days.

Police have cordoned off a section of Milgate Street in Oakleigh South.

  • Anyone with information has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.