Shae Maree FRANCIS

Headshot of Shae Francis.Woman was missing for five months before police were toldJason Cooper returns to Hervey Bay over Shae Francis death | Warwick Daily  News Shepparton family searching for answers this National Missing Persons Week

Man to be charged with manslaughter as police search for body of missing partner

By Melanie Vujkovic

A Victorian man is expected to be charged with the manslaughter of his 35-year-old partner Shae Francis, who has not been seen since October last year.

 

Police arrested 44-year-old Jason Cooper in Victoria on Friday, after an investigation by homicide detectives into the Hervey Bay woman's disappearance.

The Queensland Police Service applied to Bendigo Magistrates Court to extradite Mr Cooper and he is expected to be charged with manslaughter, interfering with a corpse and stealing.

Police will allege the stealing charge related to property of Ms Francis.

She was last seen when she visited her mother at the Hervey Bay Hospital at the beginning of October last year.

But Detective Inspector Gary Pettiford said Ms Francis was not reported missing by her mother until March.

"Her mum is obviously devastated, when someone goes missing, you still live in hope as a parent that they will be found safe and well," Detective Inspector Pettiford said.

"She was estranged from her mum, she didn't have that close a relationship and just due to circumstances, they didn't keep in touch a great deal."

Detective Inspector Pettiford said Mr Cooper was originally from Victoria, but had moved to Hervey Bay with Ms Francis, where they had lived in a unit block together for about six months.

"We confirmed that her and her partner, who is the person of interest in this matter, were living at a residential address here in Hervey Bay during, or before, that time she went missing," he said.

"[The] last official person to see her was her mum in early October. She was then seen a short period after that by residents of the unit complex in which she was living here in Hervey Bay."

Outside court in Bendigo, Shae's aunty Janine Francis said the family had been holding onto hope that she was still alive.

"Even though we've all been searching, we still believed that she had been somewhere, and is ok," Ms Francis said.

She said they were pleading with the public for any information that may help locate her body.

"Shae was very intelligent, she was very kind and gentle, she often helped people that needed help.

"Got a little bit lost on her way in the last couple of years, but she is a real, beautiful little gentle soul."

Police will allege Mr Cooper fled to Brisbane, where he remained for a short time before heading to Victoria.

Detectives are still appealing for people with information about Ms Francis's disappearance to come forward, as police continue to search for her body.

"We'll continue to investigate that, but we never give up, we always keep going and we'll keep searching for her into the future," Detective Inspector Pettiford said.

Mr Cooper will be extradited to Queensland and is expected to face court on Wednesday.

Police excavate Maryborough dump for missing woman, two years after disappearance

By Johanna Marie

 

A woman has spoken of the anguish she feels living without her daughter, as police continue to scour through rubbish at a Maryborough dump in southern Queensland searching for her remains.

 

Detectives have alleged that 35-year-old Shae Francis was killed by her former partner in October 2018, just weeks after she visited her mother in Hervey Bay hospital, but her body has never been found.

Her mother Cheryl Lee Francis, who lives in Hervey Bay, said she has "had to stand alone with all of this" over the last 12 months.

"It's been a very difficult and painful journey," she said.

"She was my fairy princess, she blessed my life, and she was a beautiful, happy, creative, intelligent young woman.

"She certainly didn't deserve the treatment that she received."

Police suspect body was put in industrial bin

Recent information has led police to believe Shae's body was put in an industrial bin on the Esplanade at Torquay in Hervey Bay before it was transferred to the Maryborough dump.

Excavation work began on Monday with the search focusing on an area about the size of an Olympic swimming pool.

Detective Senior Sergeant David Harbison said police and the State Emergency Service (SES) have remained on-site and were "still looking for evidence in respect to a sudden death investigation from late 2018".

"It's been some quite hard work we've encountered some inclement weather to date and nothing of interest has been located we still remain confident, however," he said.

"It's an area approximately 60 metres by 20 metres wide and about 10 metres deep and it's taken quite a while to get into the right area."

Candlelight vigil to be held

Cheryl Lee Francis said she was "hoping and praying that my Shae comes home and that my family as a whole will be able to grieve for her after a normal funeral process".

A candlelight vigil will be held at the Hub in Hervey Bay on Friday night, where Shae Francis was living at the time she disappeared.

"We'll be hanging a cross where we know that was the place Shae was last seen alive," she said.

"We are all going to stand together and support each other."

Shae's aunty, Janine Francis said it was important to remember her and celebrate her life.

"A message to young girls to always believe in yourself, have self-worth and self-love," she said.

"It's time we gained some strength, awareness and don't ever doubt yourself."

Shae Francis' former partner, James Cooper, was extradited from Victoria in June last year and was charged with manslaughter and interfering with a corpse.

The 44-year-old briefly appeared via video link in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Thursday where the case was adjourned until March 19.

 

Police dig fails to find missing Queensland woman Shae Francis

By Christine Flatley = Brisbane Times

 

An excavation at a Queensland property has failed to unearth any evidence of a woman who hasn't been seen for more than a year.

Forensic officers spent five days scouring the Maryborough property at Ariadne Street last week in the hope of finding something that would shed further light on the suspicious disappearance of Shae Francis.

Detectives said on Monday they were "satisfied with the extensive search of the area" but announced nothing had turned up.

Ms Francis was last seen at the Hervey Bay hospital when she visited a sick relative in early October 2018.

 

The 35-year-old was reported missing in March 2019.

Victoria man Jason Cooper, 44, has been charged with her manslaughter and interfering with a corpse.

Police allege he killed Ms Francis between October 14 and 24, 2018 at a unit on the esplanade at Torquay, a suburb of Hervey Bay about 300km north of Brisbane.

Mr Cooper also allegedly stole a dress, make-up case, mobile phone, bank card and identification cards from Ms Francis.

He is accused of interfering with her corpse some time before December 16, 2018. He was extradited from Victoria in June and was remanded in custody to reappear in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court in April.