The Case of the Missing Body – Patricia Byers

The Case of the Missing Body – Patricia Byers

In 1990 Queensland police were called in to investigate the whereabouts of a missing man, Carel Gottgens, with foul play suspected. Blood, believed to be that Gottgens, was found in his bedroom but a forensic investigation was inconclusive.

Gottgen’s partner of eight years, Patricia Byers, denied all knowledge of his whereabouts and no body was ever found.

However three years later, Byers attempted to murder her new partner John Asquith with a gunshot to the head, but failed to kill him.

This time Police had a good look at Byers and closely investigated her links with the two men. They found that she had forged several documents that gave her control of several of Gottgens assets and then used a similar technique with a life insurance document owned by Asquith.

As well as the attempted murder of Asquith, police began to believe that she had also murdered Gottgens, although their investigation was hampered by the lack of a body.

She was eventually sentenced to 12 years gaol for the attempted murder of Asquith and then in 1999 for the murder of Gottgens, even though the body had still not been located. Byers strenuously maintained her innocence in the second conviction.

A dramatic twist in the story emerged in 2016 when Byers, imprisoned in South Australia, suddenly admitted to murdering Gottgens by hitting him on the head after which he fell into the Coomera River.

It is believed that she made this confession in order to circumvent the newly introduced “no body, no parole” law which specifies that a killer will not be eligible for parole until the victim’s body is located.

Despite Byers description of the murder, Gottgen’s body has still not been located.

 

Image: Patricia Byers – a photograph take in the early 1990’s before her imprisonment.
Source: The Courier Mail.