15 Years Later, Woman Scours Outback for Slain Lover's Body

'Pete lost his life on that night, but I lost mine, too,' says Joanne Lees
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2017 4:03 AM CST

It was crime that shocked Australia: A British man shot dead in the wild outback of the Northern Territories by a man who then abducted his girlfriend. She managed to escape and hide in the scrub for hours as the killer stalked her with a dog. Now, 15 years later, Joanne Lees is back in the "untamed heart of Australia" to look for Peter Falconio's body, trailed by an Aussie TV crew. "I need to bring him home," she tells Network 9's 60 Minutes. "Pete lost his life on that night, but I lost mine, too." Bradley Murdoch, the man convicted in 2005 of killing Falconio, 28, has never revealed what he did with Falconio's body, the Guardian reports.

The vacationing couple was driving on an isolated highway at night in July 2001 when Murdoch flagged down their camper van. He shot Falconio in the head, and beat Lees, then 27, and tied her up. When Murdoch left her to check Falconio, Lees bolted. She was found on the highway with her hands bound. Her calm demeanor during questioning initially led police to consider her a suspect, per the Telegraph. Flying over the remote scene in a helicopter, Lees, now 43, tells 60 Minutes, "I know that he’s somewhere here. His spirit just feels stronger." Members of the local Aboriginal community are helping scour the bleak landscape for the body and have donated artwork to help Lees pay for a memorial. She is planning to dedicate a silver falcon sculpture to Falconio's memory. (The killer of the ex-wife of a Righteous Brothers member was identified after 41 years.)

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