Police swarm on farmhouse as man faces sexual assault charges in missing tourist mystery

Gertie Spurling

A man is expected to be charged with abduction and serious sexual offences after a young tourist mysteriously disappeared in South Australia’s Murraylands.

A dramatic arrest was made on Saturday after police swooped on a rural property on the outskirts of Meningie.

Hidden in the backseat of a police car was the man detectives say abducted and sexually assault a 24-year-old woman.

She is currently in the care of police.

The arrest was made when officers raided a farmhouse on the outskirts of Meningie at around 12.30pm on Saturday.

They scoured the property, paying particular attention to a shed with tyre marks leading to it before seizing a red ute in a paddock.

“That’s obviously the vehicle we are looking for and it’s now in police custody,” Inspector Greg Hutchins from South Australia’s Major Crime Branch said.

It is understood the ute was allegedly used to pick up the victim from a bus stop in Murray Bridge after the pair met online.

“She placed an ad on Gumtree that person responded to that add,” Insp Hutchins said.

A frantic search for the woman was launched in the Murraylands on Friday after her family contacted police and said she was being held against her will.

“She was able to get a message home to her family and that obviously alerted police,” he said.

The woman was found at a motel in Murray Bridge on Friday night despite the offences happening at Meningie. Police refused to say how she came to be there.

“My understanding is she’s with police and she’s well, unharmed,” Insp Hutchins said.

The 52 year old remains in custody at the Murray Bridge Police Station and was expected to be charged with the offences shortly.

He will front court via video link on Monday.