Grim find in reserve

Police at the scene. Picture: BRENDAN REES

By Brendan Rees

Victoria Police say they are treating the death of a man in Cranbourne as suspicious, after his body was found in the carpark of a primary school early on Friday 26 June.

The grim discovery was made after passers-by near Rangebank Primary School about 7.15am.

Victoria Police spokeswoman Leading Senior Constable Melissa Seach said police were called to the carpark at Lesdon Avenue, next to Donnelly Recreational Reserve.

The body of the man has yet to be identified and Homicide Squad detectives have appealed to the public for help.

“The death is being treated as suspicious and Homicide Squad detectives are currently on scene investigating,” Leading Sen Const Seach said.

The school was closed as police swarmed the area for most of the day where a roadblock was set up on Lesdon Avenue and the reserve cordoned off with police tape.

It’s believed the body was found near a mound of bark close to the reserve. Homicide Squad detectives and forensic officers, who were wearing masks, established a crime scene and combed the area for clues.

Neighbours described the area as usually quiet and didn’t know what was unfolding until detectives knocked on their doors.

Luke Sidebottom, whose son attends Rangebank Primary said it “was a bit of a shock”.

“We actually got a text this morning saying the school has closed due to a very serious incident that occurred near the primary school and all classes cancelled for today. The school will be in touch,” Mr Sidebottom said.

“I came down straight away to see what was going on,” he said.

“It’s a monthly occurrence around here. Something always major is happening … just more surprised it’s so close to home.”

Mr Sidebottom said a homeless man was known to squat within the school grounds of the school and was “usually gone every morning before school starts”.

“He’s been living there for quite some time … at least a year or so,” he said, adding there was no suggestion if he was connected to the incident.

“He’s never caused any trouble or problems with anybody.

“He’s in his 50s, kind of longish hair, always dressed in black and usually pushes around a black cart around as well.”

Another neighbour, Christine Willerton said she was “very shocked” and found out about the incident as she was dropping off her son at a bus stop.

“Normally I take my dogs in the car and take them for a run and sometimes we go there but thank god we didn’t,” she said.

“That’s just awful and especially for the person that found them.”

One neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It’s not something you normally get around here.

“We didn’t know anything,” he said, after police knocked on his door.

Otto, a resident of 20 years, said he had walked out to his car about 8.30am when he looked down the street to see a strong police presence.

“There’s always somebody that’s done something wrong so I’m not surprised,” he said, adding the carpark in question was sometimes the scene of cars doing burn-outs.

Narre Warren SES unit were also on scene after setting up a marquee and assisting police with crime scene preservation.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

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