Skeletal remains have been found during a search of bushland around Byron Bay, with police as yet unable to determine if they belong to a man or woman.
The grim discovery was made on Wednesday afternoon as part of a hunt for clues into the disappearance of nomadic woman Thea Liddle.
Ms Liddle, 42, was known to move between homeless camps and went missing in October last year.
Belgain backpacker Theo Hayes has also been missing in the area since May 2019.
NSW Police say they are yet to determine if the bones discovered relate to either of their disappearances.
Police brought in sniffer dogs and rescue specialists to scour Byron Bay bushland on Tuesday, as part of the hunt for clues about Ms Liddle’s disapperance.
Skeletal remains have been found during a search of bushland around Byron Bay near where Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez (left) went missing last May and nomadic traveller Thea Liddle (right) vanished last October
Ms Liddle’s last known address was a rural property where she was living with a 46-year-old man.
While she was known to lead a transient lifestyle, her disappearance has prompted a major search amid fears for her safety.
Officers have searched homeless camps where she was known to reside in the months before her disappearance.
Byron Police District Commander, Superintendent Dave Roptell, said the search area is relatively wide because of her nomadic lifestyle.
‘Thea lived a very transient lifestyle – shifting from place to place, changing campsites often and would opt for places in remote bushland away from the public,’ Superintendent Roptell said.
One of those sites was a section of bushland around the Youth Activity Centre near Byron Bay’s town centre.
Thea Liddle, 42, disappeared on Halloween last year from Mooball in Northern New South Wales
Police brought in sniffer dogs and rescue specialists to scour the bush around Byron Bay on Tuesday
This was the same site police searched as part of investigations into the disappearance of Belgian Backpacker Theo Hayez.
The 18-year-old backpacker was never seen again after leaving a nightclub on May 31 2019.
Officers have been searching homeless camps in the bush where she was known to reside in the month’s before her disappearance
Police are hoping to uncover new evidence which may assist with investigations
Officers have cast a wide net over Thea’s possible whereabouts including sections of bushland around Byron Bay and Northern New South Wales
Police will be searching a number of other locations on Wednesday
However there is no indication the two missing persons cases are connected.
He said they are hoping to uncover new evidence which may assist with investigations.
‘We are conducting thorough searches throughout these locations for any indication of Thea’s presence there,’ he said.
‘It wasn’t uncommon for Thea to travel throughout the Far North Coast, however, is it unusual for her to go this length of time without speaking to family members.’
Police will be searching a number of other locations on Wednesday.
Thea was reported missing by her family in January 2020.
Thea (pictured) was reported missing by her family in January 2020
She is known to frequent several areas around the New South Wales Far North Coast including Mooball, Nimbin and Byron Bay
She is known to frequent several areas around the New South Wales Far North Coast including Mooball, Nimbin and Byron Bay.
When she was reported missing officers launched Strike Force Holby to investigate her disappearance.
Officers conducted a widespread search of a 200 hectare property at Tweed where she had was staying at Mooball with a 46-year-old man.
However they failed to find any trace of her.