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  • Crispin Till

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    Cooktown holds vital clues to help police solve murder

    UPDATE 12.25pm 14/08: Crime scene examinations at four sites of interest in Cooktown have been completed as detectives continue to investigate the death of local mum-of-two Donna Steele, 42.

    While detectives and forensics officers are currently analysing evidence, police have also released a new photograph of Ms Steele in the hope it may provide a vital clue.

    Officers are also still asking for information and dash camera footage in relation to the death of Ms Steele.

    A number of people in the community have been interviewed, however police continue to appeal to those who had contact with Ms Steele prior to her death to come forward.

    CCTV camera vision captures Ms Steele’s white Toyota Hilux utility with a dog cage on the rear tray leaving Cooktown about 12.20pm on Wednesday, August 2.

    The last confirmed sighting of Ms Steele was at a Helen Street independent supermarket about 12.15pm on Wednesday, August 2.

    Family contacted police on the evening of August 3, and a missing persons investigation started.

    Ms Steele’s body was found in the water in Isabella Creek at Leggett’s Crossing at 5am on Saturday, August 5.

    PREVIOUSLY, Detective Inspector Geoff Marsh said a lot of people were wanting to help and police were taking a number of statements as investigations into the disappearance and suspected murder of the mum-of-two continued.

    Ms Steele was last seen at a local supermarket last Wednesday afternoon.

    “At this stage we have a number of lines of inquiry,” Insp Marsh said.

    “The feeling in the community is absolute shock. It is a small, tight-knit community.

    “Ms Steele was well known in the community and has two small children attending the local school.”

    The body was found in a remote location about 20km from where Ms Steele lived on Poison Creek Road after an extensive search of the local area.

    The search was sparked after Ms Steele's partner reported her missing after arriving home on Thursday to find her two young children, aged 8 and 10, at home alone.

    The location where the body was found, off Endeavour Valley Road near Leggett's Crossing, is popular with locals for swimming and fishing.

    Detectives and specialist officers from Brisbane are in Cooktown examining four crime scenes, including Ms Steele's home and a property near where the body was found.

    Insp Marsh said initial investigations indicate that whoever is responsible for the crime was likely known to the victim.

    Ms Steele was last seen about 12.15pm on Wednesday at a local supermarket with police relying on information from the community to piece together her last movements with a lack of CCTV in the community "blocking" the investigation.

    “We want to hear from anyone who saw Ms Steele later on Wednesday afternoon. We have about a three, to three-and-a-half hour window,” he said.

    Ms Steele’s two children are being cared for by their father and police had offered support to the family.

    Anyone with footage is urged to phone Cooktown Police on 4069 5688, or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.