Cold case breakthrough: Chilling discovery in submerged car missing since 2004

A Queensland fisherman has helped make a major breakthrough in a cold case that has puzzled police for more than a decade.

Stuart Gatehouse vanished without a trace in 2003 but on Thursday his car, with skeletal remains inside, were discovered in a dam near Gympie.

On what would have been Gatehouse’s 58th birthday, it was a fisherman who got the breakthrough discovery.

Queensland Police Detective Inspector David Drinnen told 7 New that "through his depth-sounder [the fisherman] identified an object that was submerged in the water".

The Holden Commodore belonging to Gatehouse was pulled from a dam near Gympsie. Source: 7 News

"We're going to have to just be patient, and we're actually just going to have to wait and see what the outcome of the post-mortem is.

"At this stage we don't know what the cause of death is, we have not been able to establish what has transpired."

It has not been established who the remains belong to, however it’s suspected they could belong to Gatehouse, who vanished without a trace 13 years ago.

Skeletel remains were found inside the car, however it's not yet know who they belong to. Source: 7 News

"Our criminal investigation bureau and our homicide squad will certainly re-open the file,” Queensland Police Acting Sergeant Bill Greer added.

Stuart Gatehouse was last seen in the town of Kenilworth around April 2004 and had been travelling to Gympie.

The Holden Commodore has now been taken for forensic examination.