A witness has told the former special operations group police officer whose body was found inside a factory in Melbourne's south-east was a professional fighter who possibly "bit off more than he could chew".
The man's distraught family had been searching for him for days, but the grim discovery was only made after a suspect surrendered to police Friday morning.
The victim's mother was comforted at the scene, as the family's worst fears were confirmed.
The man's family had been desperately searching for their son around a Braeside industrial estate since Thursday morning, convinced he was trapped inside.
The victim is a former Special Operations Group officer who retired almost a decade ago.
His family said they last heard from him on Wednesday night.
The man’s truck was parked at the back of the factory with his keys, wallet and phone still inside.
His body was found in the factory this morning, shortly after a 45-year-old man handed himself into the Mordialloc police station.
Nearby business owners told 7 News the factory was been raided by police a number of times over the past few years. It is not known how the victim was linked to the business or the workers there.
“The parents trying to get into the factory, yelling out the fellow's name,” witness Russell Schmidt said.
“They were quite upset and seem to think that their son had been murdered, and was kept in that factory. And [the family] we’re trying to get in there."
Another witness told of how the worried family come looking for the man on Thursday.
Mr Schmidt said the father told him his son was a black belt in karate and had an unbeaten amateur boxing career, and a three-fight professional career.
“[He] has no fear and quite capable of taking on several people at the same time, and might have bitten off more than he could chew this time.”
Police have yet to formally identify the body, but told 7 News both parties were most likely known to one other.