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Body dumped and potentially set alight in state forest near Taree

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Forensic police and homicide detectives will continue to search dense bushland on the New South Wales mid-north coast after a body was dumped and potentially set alight in a state forest.

A Rural Fire Service crew were called to reports of a bushfire off the main road through the Yarrat state forest, near Taree, at about 6am on Thursday. While putting out the blaze they found the remains of a dead person, believed to be an adult.

“It’s quite dense bushland,” detective chief inspector Rod Blackman told reporters in Taree on Thursday. “The remains were located a short distance off one of those main thoroughfares.”

Police established a crime scene and forensic specialists began piecing together what happened.

Early indications suggest the body was dumped just a few hours before it was discovered. And the blaze may have been started on purpose.

“We are treating it as a suspicious death,” Blackman said. “There’s nothing to suggest there is a natural cause for this matter.”

The rugged terrain suggests the body was taken into the forest by vehicle rather than by foot, police believe.

Detectives have collected lists of all the missing persons in NSW and beyond but are urging the public to contact them about anyone who has disappeared from the area in recent days.

A post-mortem examination of the body will be carried out on Friday and will provide police with “new lines of inquiry”.

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