Police and SES crews search for clues at the site of a gruesome death at Goomboorian.
Police and SES crews search for clues at the site of a gruesome death at Goomboorian. Josh Preston

Three people of interest in woodchipper murder investigation

UPDATE 9.20AM: THREE people of interest have emerged in the investigation of the suspected murder of a man whose body was fed through a woodchipper at Goomboorian.

Nambour man Bruce Saunders, 54, was working on a rural property with two other men when he was killed in November.

While initially thought to be an accident, police are now treating the death as murder following further investigations including reinterviewing the two men.

Sources have said police are investigating whether a love triangle involving a woman was behind the death.

Police were back at the site yesterday to sift through the soil in search of more clues.

"We're a conducting a more thorough search of the area where the woodchipper was," Wide Bay Burnett District Detective Inspector Gary Pettiford said.

"All up there's about 160 square metres that we're searching. It's methodical, painstaking work."

Fragments of human remains, clothing and parts of what police believe was a mobile phone that entered the woodchipper last year were found in the search yesterday.

The two men who were with Mr Saunders at the time have been deemed persons of interest by police along with a woman.

The property owner was away at the time, and police do not believe they were involved.

EARLIER 4.47PM March 7: POLICE have reopened the search of a Goomboorian property where a man's body was put through a woodchipper last November as the persons of interest list widens in the grisly murder investigation.

Information given to police sparked a meticulous search of a 160 square metre section of the Tinana Rd property where Sunshine Coast butcher Bruce Saunders, 54, was brutally killed at the end of a day of helping to clear vegetation at a friend's property.

Chipper murder search: Murder search continues
Chipper murder search: Murder search continues

A 40-strong search team made up of homicide investigators, Gympie detectives, rural crime squad investigators, state scientific officers and SES officers scoured the area, scrupulously sifting through the top layer of dirt and mulch surrounding the area where the chipper had been parked.

Investigators uncovered fragments of human remains, clothing and plastic believed to be from a mobile phone that passed through the chipper on the first day of the search.

Lead investigator Detective Inspector Gary Pettiford said police were focusing their interest on trying to uncover particular pieces of evidence, based on the information they had received.

Earlier unconfirmed reports suggested that a possible love triangle involving Mr Saunders may have led to his death.


Bruce Saunders
Bruce Saunders Contributed

RELATED: Horrific woodchipper death now a murder investigation

While the detective could not comment on a motive, he confirmed there were now three people of interest in the homicide investigation.

Every find at the scene was critical in putting together the puzzle of Mr Saunder's final moments, he said.

"The job is extensive in a crime scene that was contaminated before the death was declared suspicious," he said.

Det Pettiford said while there were many unanswered questions, he had no doubt investigators would bring it to a successful outcome.


The family was still in shock after losing a loved one under such circumstances, but he said they had put their faith in his team to find the truth.

Mr Saunders, a former Bundaberg man, was an employee at a number of Sunshine Coast IGA supermarkets at the time of his death.

The store owner said he had not been working at the outlets for long, but had been a popular staff member and his death had been "terribly sad" for other staff.

The owner said they were assisting police any way they could with their inquiries.

The make of woodchipper in which popular butcher Bruce Saunders died a grisly death last November.
The make of woodchipper in which popular butcher Bruce Saunders died a grisly death last November.