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WA: Police lay murder charge without a body

05 Mar 2009 1:49 PM

PERTH, March 5 AAP - A man has been charged with the murder of an itinerant worker, despite his body never being found.

Steven David Petersen, 41, disappeared in Perth in 2004 and was reported missing by relatives, although a police investigation at the time did not find anything suspicious.

Police reopened the investigation in 2007 after receiving fresh information, and on Wednesday charged a 37-year-old man with Mr Petersen's murder.

Police allege that Mr Petersen was killed some time between September and December 2004 at a property in Munster, with the offender then disposing of the body.

Major Crime Squad detectives on Thursday said they would do their best to find Mr Petersen's body but were not hopeful of locating it.

"I'm not hopeful of finding a body," Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Fyfe said.

"I want to, simply for the family's sake, (but) we don't need it to proceed with the charge," Det Fyfe said.

"I wouldn't have charged anyone with wilful murder if I wasn't (confident he was actually murdered)."

Police do not believe anyone else was involved in Mr Petersen's death but said they would interview neighbours in Munster, a market garden and semi-rural suburb south of Perth.

"We will go now and canvass neighbours for completeness but I'm not hopeful of any additional information because of what I know now," Det Fyfe said.

"The (accused's) property is our only focus until other areas are identified. I don't know where we're going to end up today."

Mr Petersen is believed to have grown up in country NSW but lived in various states throughout his life.

He had been in Western Australia for five to six months before his death, police said.

Mr Petersen and the man charged with his murder were only casual acquaintances, police said.

The 37-year-old man from Munster was to appear in Perth Magistrates Court on Thursday on a charge of wilful murder.