Partner charged with Rhian's death

Home: The caravan and hut where Levi Michael Hayes and Rhian Elsmore lived on Atkinson Road, Canoona.
Home: The caravan and hut where Levi Michael Hayes and Rhian Elsmore lived on Atkinson Road, Canoona. Allan Reinikka

FLANKED by 15 police officers, accused murderer Levi Michael Hayes yesterday helped police search rugged bushland north of Rockhampton where the body of his de facto was later found.

Police are awaiting the results of forensic testing to determine how Rhian Elsmore, 17, died.

At 1.30pm yesterday her body was found at a Canoona property where the couple shared a caravan about 65km north of Rockhampton.

Rhian was last seen on April 6 and was reported missing by her father last Friday.

Police have been based at the property since then.

Hayes has been charged with Rhian’s murder, which police allege occurred on or about April 8.

Hayes was yesterday remanded in custody after a brief appearance in Rockhampton Magistrates Court.

He has not yet entered a plea.

A Facebook site dedicated to helping find Rhian yesterday listed Hayes as an administrator. His name was later removed.

Yesterday Rhian’s sister Tegan Timson said her sibling was a “free spirit” as tributes flowed for a teenager who was also described as “a beautiful person”.

At the property, Regional Crime Co-ordinator Inspector Jon Wacker said police had received information that suggested the body was on the property.

“After a search by police, assisted by the accused, we were able to locate the body in rugged bushland,” Insp Wacker said.

He said the crime scene was being forensically examined and it was too early to tell how Rhian had died.

The body was airlifted to Atkinson Road, near where the caravan is located, and then taken to Rockhampton.

After helping with the search, Hayes was taken back to Rockhampton in a police 4WD.

He crouched down in the back seat as he passed waiting media.

He is due to reappear in court on May 7.

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