May 26 2014
– Police investigating the suspected murder of Sydney student Jamie Gao believe a body found off the coast of Cronulla this morning may be that of the 20-year-old, who has been missing for almost a week.
A former NSW detective has been charged with Mr Gao’s murder, and officers attached to the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad are waiting to speak to disgraced former detective Roger Rogerson over the disappearance.
Sources close to the investigation have told Fairfax Media the discovery of the body “fits” with the events they allege happened around the time of the Mr Gao’s disappearance.
NSW detectives are flying to Queensland on Monday to talk to Mr Rogerson.
Sydney Water Police officers scooped the body, which was wrapped in a blue tarpaulin, from the sea off Cronulla just before 9am on Monday.
The body was floating about 2.5 kilometres off Shelly Beach, said Lachlan Steven, who spotted it at 7.30am while travelling with a friend from Sydney Harbour to Cronulla in a boat.
He said the body was wrapped in a bright blue-coloured tarpaulin held together by white rope. He saw two feet with “white leather runners” on.
Mr Steven, 24, who works in construction, described the body as small, about 150 centimetres in length. “[The body] was pretty short… a very small body,” he said.
He came within two metres of the body.
“It’s pretty sunny out here, and there’s no wind,” he said.
Sydney Water Police officers in San Souci confirmed they sent a boat and recovered the body.
“Police responded to reports of a body in the water off Shelly Beach at Cronulla. A post-mortem will determine the cause of death. The deceased has not been identified,” a police spokesman said.
– Nick Ralston & Esther Han