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Suspect Charged With Murders Of Seven Backpackers

May 31, 1994

CAMPBELLTOWN, Australia (AP) _ Police on Tuesday charged a 49-year-old man with killing seven backpackers and hiding their bodies in shallow graves in thick bushland southwest of Sydney.

Ivan Robert Milat of Eagle Vale, outside Sydney, was arrested at his home May 22 by police investigating the murders of seven young backpackers - two Britons, three Germans and two Australians.

Their remains were found buried in the Belanglo State Forest, in southern New South Wales, between September 1992 and November 1993.

He was charged with seven murder charges and six firearms charges. He originally faced armed robbery and firearm charges for holding up a hitchhiker at gun point in January 1990.

The new charges followed weeklong searches of several properties in Sydney and the Southern Highlands, part of what police called Australia’s biggest hunt for a serial killer.

In a statement read to the court by Milat’s lawyer, John Marsden, Milat denied all the charges. Bail was refused, and he was sent to jail pending trial.

The bodies of Joanne Walters and Caroline Clarke, both 22-year-old Britons, were found in September 1992. James Gibson and Deborah Everist, both 19 and from Victoria state, were found less than a mile away in October 1993.

In November 1993, a fifth body was found in the forest about four miles from the other four, later identified as that of 20-year-old Simone Schmidl of Germany.

Four days later, about one mile east of where Schmidl’s body was discovered, the bodies of German couple Gabor Neugebauer, 21, and Anja Habschied, 20, were found.

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