SA Police have revealed a significant lead in the case of a missing Adelaide man they now believe was lured to a unit in Adelaide’s northern suburbs and murdered.
- Michael Purse’s disappearance was declared a major crime last year
- Police now believe he was lured to a property on Churchill Road and murdered
- They say a passer-by helped the suspected murderers after they had bogged their car
Michael Jeffrey Purse, 32, was last seen on February 6, 2019, in Adelaide’s CBD.
Detectives now believe he was murdered the next day at a unit on Churchill Road in Kilburn, in Adelaide’s north, and that his body was put into a green 2000 Daewoo Lanos hatchback.
The vehicle was later captured driving north of the city by traffic cameras near Globe Derby Park.
Superintendent Des Bray today said the car had become bogged in the Adelaide Plains area between 5:00am and 8:30am and a passer-by had offered assistance.
“So it’s critical to our investigation for us to identify the person who helped these people get out of the bog,” he said.
“The person must remember that, on a dirt track about 12 months ago, they pulled a green Daewoo hatch out of a bog … and we’d encourage that person to ring Crime Stoppers tonight.
“That person will be able to provide critical information in terms of the time, the exact location, the number of people in the car, and I’ve got no doubt will be able to identify those in the car.”
Superintendent Bray said on February 6, 2019, Mr Purse was picked up at the Adelaide Casino and taken to a unit on Churchill Road in Kilburn, where they believe he was murdered.
“We know he stayed there until the early hours of Thursday the 7th of February and in the early hours of the morning that he was killed by some of the occupants.
“At the time of this death, we believe there were three men present and also a couple of females and three or more of those people played a role in his death and others may have assisted.”
Police have now called for the passer-by to contact police after helping the suspected murderers get their car out of a bog on the Adelaide Plains as they were first travelling to dispose of the body.
Family left in ‘terrible limbo’ after suspected murder
Mr Purse’s disappearance was declared a major crime in May 2019.
Police said he was subject to a number of assaults in late 2018 and early 2019, and on one occasion was kidnapped.
“We know that he had some issues within the drug community but also he was in conflict and had some personal dispute with a person who we believe may [have been] involved in a subsequent murder,” Superintendent Bray said.
The last known sighting of Mr Purse was on February 6, 2019, in Adelaide’s CBD, before he was reported missing on April 24.
Police said his phone and bank accounts remain untouched.
In June, police revealed their suspicions that he had been murdered, and said all efforts to locate him had failed.
In October last year, Mr Purse’s family made an emotional plea for information about his disappearance, when police declared it a major crime.
Mr Purse’s mother, Donna Ipers — who now lives in Germany — spoke of her concerns, along with Mr Purse’s father Jeffrey and brother Andrew.
“His calls don’t come anymore, I don’t hear his jokes, his stories are gone,” she said.
“He always told me he loved me, I don’t hear that anymore.
Mr Purse was born in Toowoomba in Queensland but moved to Adelaide about 10 years ago.
He was a known drug user who suffered from a medical condition.
Before his disappearance, he cut his hair and shaved off his beard.
Mr Purse was sentenced to more than a year in prison in 2014 for defrauding the Australian Tax Office of $130,145.