Oddly Enough

Missing Australians gatecrash police media call

CANBERRA (Reuters) - An elderly Australian couple who took a spur-of-the-moment holiday without telling their family returned home to find police about to hold a news conference on their possible murder, media reported on Tuesday.

Police in Victoria state had feared the worst after searching for the couple, Roy and Heather Ostell, who had not been heard of for three days and who had failed to turn up for a planned gold prospecting trip.

But as homicide detectives prepared for a media conference at the couple’s home, with photographs of the missing pair, the couple drove up in their old Volkswagon Kombi van to the astonishment of their worried daughter.

“We’ve just been bumming down at the beach having a wonderful time,” a red-faced Heather Ostell told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

One of the Ostell’s daughters called police after visiting her parent’s semi-rural home on Sunday, finding the front door unlocked, a full cup of tea on the kitchen sink, the family dog wandering the streets and prospecting gear piled on the floor.

Police had searched the property looking for evidence of a murder and were preparing to brief the media when the Ostell’s drove up, gatecrashing the news conference.

After talking to police about the fuss, Heather Ostell said the couple changed their minds about going prospecting at the last moment. They went to the beach instead, but forgot to tell any of their four adult children.

Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by Alex Richardson