UPDATE: Sam Price-Purcell was killed by a former associate, police will allege, in a stunning breakthrough on the three-year investigation into the Brisbane man's disappearance.

Mr Price-Purcell was last seen getting into a yellow Holden Commodore in the Brisbane suburb of Mitchelton on February 16, 2015, and travelled to Toowoomba in the company of others.

A dogged three-year police investigation to solve the murder of a man once described as a low-level drug dealer got its first major breakthrough with the arrest of Leyburn man Michael Jay Evans, 36, this morning.

Police believe Evans, charged with murder, misconduct of a corpse and arson of a motor vehicle, was an associate of Mr Price-Purcell "for some time".

 

 

There has been a breakthrough in the case of Sam Price-Purcell.
There has been a breakthrough in the case of Sam Price-Purcell.

"We know that Sam and the accused we have charged today are associates," Detective Acting Inspector Dave Nicoll from the Homicide Group said.

"They have been associates for some time. The exact nature of that association is something that is still under investigation.

"Certainly we believe there was a number of people involved in his actual murder, and then there is at least one other who is an accessory."

Detectives have seized a yellow 2010 Holden Commodore SS sedan in relation to the disappearance of Sam Price-Purcell.
Detectives have seized a yellow 2010 Holden Commodore SS sedan in relation to the disappearance of Sam Price-Purcell. Contributed

He said Mr Price-Purcell's mother, Leonie Price, had been told of the major breakthrough.

Mrs Price fronted a media conference on the third anniversary of Mr Price-Purcell's disappearance in an emotional appeal for information to find her son's body.

"I'm told she is very thankful and pleased that the investigation has reached this point," Acting Inspector Nicoll said.

"However, the location of the remains of her son is obviously crucial to her."

Countless witness statements had helped investigators piece together what they believe is a comprehensive picture of what happened to Mr Price-Purcell after he was seen getting into the yellow Holden Commodore in Brisbane.

That vehicle was seized by police in Toowoomba on May 25 and forensically examined.

Acting Inspector Nicoll said the vehicle had been on-sold and the current owners were not connected to Mr Price-Purcell's death.

"That vehicle has always been a vehicle of interest in relation to this investigation," he said.

Police will allege Evans lived at the Leyburn property police searched in early March. A second property at Helidon was searched last month.

He urged anyone with information that could help the investigation or find locate Mr Price-Purcell's remains to contact Crime Stoppers.

Police arrive with a man for questioning over the Sam Price-Purcell murder. Toowoomba Police Station. May 2018
Police arrive with a man for questioning over the Sam Price-Purcell murder. Toowoomba Police Station. May 2018 Bev Lacey

EARLIER, 10AM: A LEYBURN man has been charged with the murder of Brisbane man Sam Price-Purcell.

Detectives this morning charged a 36-year-old following a protracted investigation which included large-scale property searches in Leyburn and Helidon earlier this year.

Mr Price-Purcell was last seen in the Mitchelton area on Friday, February 16, 2015.

Police believe he had travelled to Toowoomba but was never seen again.

Police said despite the charges, Mr Price-Purcell's body is yet to be located.

Police arrive with a man for questioning over the Sam Price-Purcell murder. Toowoomba Police Station. May 2018
Police arrive with a man for questioning over the Sam Price-Purcell murder. Toowoomba Police Station. May 2018 Bev Lacey

Homicide Investigation Unit and Ferny Grove Criminal Investigation Branch detectives this morning charged the Leyburn man with murder.

He is due to appear in Toowoomba Magistrates Court today.

"This was a crucial breakthrough for us and comes after a comprehensive investigation by detectives," Detecting Acting Inspector David Nicoll of the Homicide Group said.

"We would like to thank those members of the community who came forward and provided us with information and assistance in this case.

"However, while this arrest is certainly a significant breakthrough for us, it does not mark the end.

A police-issued image of Sam Robert Price-Purcell.
A police-issued image of Sam Robert Price-Purcell.

"We still have more work to do and remain committed to bringing all those responsible for Sam's murder before the court.

"Importantly, Sam's remains have not been located and police are appealing for anyone with information in relation to Sam's murder or the location of his remains to contact police."


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