The remains of a missing woman murdered by her ex-boyfriend have been found more than four years after her death.
Samah Baker, 30, was murdered by her former partner James Hachem, 37, in a fit of jealousy in January 2019.
He lured her out of her apartment by lying about his parents being in a car accident before murdering her somewhere in the vicinity of her Parramatta apartment complex in western Sydney.
Hachem was sentenced to 24 years behind bars after a court found him guilty of her murder in May this year.
It is understood he never told police where he buried her body.
A woman discovered her remains while walking in grassland off the Hume Highway near Goulburn in the NSW southern tablelands on July 28.
Ms Baker’s family released a statement on Thursday, saying the discovery of her body has offered them a small amount of comfort after she was taken from them “in the cruellest way”.
“Even though what remains of Samah has been found, it feels like losing her all over again,” the statement said.
“Each development in the case feels like a reopening of our barely healed wounds, reminding us of the harsh reality of our loss.”
The family said the grief of her loss was made so much harder because they were never able to have a funeral or lay her to rest.
“We never got to say goodbye to her or tell her we loved her for the last time,” they said.
“The news of her remains being discovered 4½ years later isn‘t a neat resolution, but it does offer a small measure of what we’ve been longing for all this time.”
At least 15 people have been killed in domestic violence incidents in NSW in 2023 so far.
Body found in Goulburn bushland, 200km from her home
A woman stumbled upon Ms Baker’s remains while walking through grassland off the Hume Highway about 100m south of Windellama Rd overpass on the morning of July 28.
She alerted police to the discovery and a crime scene was established.
After detailed forensic examination, police confirmed the remains belonged to Ms Baker.
The bushland where the body was found is almost 200km away from the Parramatta unit where the 30-year-old was last seen in 2019.
A male friend had dropped her home to her apartment complex about 1.30am on January 4.
The pair had spent the last 24 hours together, spending a night at a North Sydney hotel before attending a Belfield church in the morning, getting drinks in Chinatown and then dinner in Coogee before he drove her home.
After the man’s repeated attempts to contact her the next day, she was reported missing.
Ex-boyfriend’s cruel lie to lure her from home
It was later revealed in court that Hachem had been laying in wait for her outside the apartment that night.
Hachem watched her give the male friend a kiss goodnight before pursuing her in a fit of jealousy.
He stopped her from going upstairs to bed, telling her a lie about his parents being in a car accident.
The court found that he likely murdered her somewhere near the apartment complex.
Hachem then stuffed her body into the boot of his mother’s car before attending a job interview at McDonalds’ the next day.
A few days later he drove three hours south where he dumped the body in bushland near Goulburn.
Despite several searches of the area in recent years, police had found no traces of her remains until now.