Police searching Australian Outback for woman find body

Clay Curtis
December 4, 2019

McBeath-Riley and Hockridge, both Alice Springs locals, had taken Tran out for a drive and afternoon trek more than two weeks ago, heading to a region south of Alice Springs, when their ute became bogged in a river.

It's believed the body of a missing woman in the Northern Territory has been found.

On Wednesday morning, police inspected tracks they believed belonged to Ms Hockridge.

Tran was found three days after his friend Tamra McBeath-Riley was found about 1.5 km (0.9 miles) from the auto they had been travelling in through Australia's remote north.

Police Superintendent Pauline Vicary said a woman's body was located about 38 kilometres south-east of the Stuart Well Roadhouse, around 8.5 kilometres east of the Stuart Highway.

Search and rescue team officers focused their efforts in the Palmer Valley Station area this morning, travelling on foot and motorbikes.

Ms Hockridge, 46, of Alice Springs, was in a group of three people who became stranded in the central Australian outback a fortnight ago.

"We are all grieving and exhausted from the emotional roller coaster that we've ridden", Sarah Hockridge told reporters.

Police had originally hoped that Hockridge would be found alive after she and Phu Tran found water, though the pair separated some time before he was found.

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"Ted, the landowner near the cattle farm, he's a battler, he's got 1000 head of cattle and he dropped everything to make sure I was all right", he told reporters.

Two of Ms Hockridge's companions were found alive earlier this week after extensive search efforts.

The group and Ms McBeath-Riley's dog, Raya, had been travelling from Alice Springs to go on a hike when they became bogged in the Hugh River.

Police say formal identification of the body is yet to be conducted and a report in being prepared for the Coroner.

They stayed together for a harrowing few days with little food before splitting up to get help. "At night they could sleep in the vehicle".

The trio tried for three days to free their ute, Ms McBeath-Riley said after being released from hospital on Monday.

Northern Territory Police said Mr Tran was found by a farmer on a livestock station south of Alice Springs, one of Australia's most remote towns.

Daytime temperatures in the Australian outback often exceed 40C (104F), with temperatures plummeting after sundown.

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