‘Discarded like rubbish’: Mum desperate to find son’s body


Every day since her son was killed, Leanne Pullen has asked herself the same heartbreaking question.

"Where is he?"

The Mackay mother has spoken on the ninth anniversary of Timothy Pullen's death, and one day after it was revealed that one of his killers would be deported to New Zealand, to appeal for any information about the whereabouts of her son's body.

"We live 24/7 with that interminable question - where is Tim? That question is with us all the time," Mrs Pullen said.

"It's like you have a big black cloud hanging over your head and a big gaping hole in your heart."


On the ninth anniversary of Timothy Pullen’s death, his family have pleaded for information on where his body is.
On the ninth anniversary of Timothy Pullen’s death, his family have pleaded for information on where his body is.


Tim was abducted from a North Mackay unit and killed over a drug debt on April 16, 2012.

Police believed his body was stored in a nightclub cold room, then driven 300km north to a property near Collinsville and dumped.

Six people were jailed over his death, but even as their prison sentences come to an end, the Pullen family are no closer to knowing Tim's final resting place.

"It really seems unfathomable that people have information but they remain tight-lipped," she said.

"What have they got to gain? That's what I don't understand. Is there some incriminating evidence? Other than that I just don't understand why they would extend our family's grief and torment.

"As a mum I need to bring Tim home, wherever he is. Our whole family needs that."


Tim with his mum Leanne Pullen.
Tim with his mum Leanne Pullen.


In 2016, the family thought they would finally get some closure when Luke Shayne Kister and Stephen Dale Renwick, who pleaded guilty to disposing of Tim's body, led detectives to a property near Collinsville.

Mrs Pullen waited all day by the phone for news that detectives had found Tim, but it never came.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for the family who had made the difficult decision to accept a plea deal with the men - lesser charges in exchange for a location.

"It was totally our decision as a family and we chose to accept their lesser pleas because we were so positive that we were going to be able to have a funeral and respectfully say goodbye to Tim," Mrs Pullen said.

They received more "gut-wrenching" news later when Renwick changed his story, telling police that Tim had been wrapped in plastic, covered in logs and burned.

"We truly had no idea what broken-hearted was until we heard that," Mrs Pullen said.

"Knowing that he was discarded like a piece of rubbish … It's really unimaginable that another human could do that."


Stephen Dale Renwick claimed that Tim’s body was burnt.
Stephen Dale Renwick claimed that Tim’s body was burnt.


But the family is sceptical of Renwick's claims that Tim's body was incinerated - or his "far-fetched" claims that his ashes were blown away by Cyclone Debbie.

"Even at a crematorium they are still left with fragments so how could a human possibly do that?" she said.

None of the other people jailed over Tim's death have ever shed any light on his final resting place.

In 2017, one of the killers Benjamin Oakley, who has not been formally asked about the location since his jailing, was granted parole days before "no body, no parole" legislation passed.

It was a blow for Mrs Pullen and her husband Gary who had fought to have the laws introduced in the hope that one of their son's killers would reveal where they hid his body.

Another one of the killers Zane Tray Lincoln, who was jailed for 11 years in May 2016 for manslaughter, claimed he never knew where Tim's body was.

On Wednesday, the Federal Court of Australia upheld a decision to cancel his visa, meaning Lincoln will be deported to New Zealand in 2024 once he has served out the remainder of his sentence.


Timothy Pullen pictured as a teenager.
Timothy Pullen pictured as a teenager.


To mark Tim's anniversary today, the Pullen family will do what they do every year.

Gather as a family, remember Tim's "wicked sense of humour" and eat his favourite food - a melting moment.

"Tim had a really wicked sense of humour so we do always remember him in a fun way," Mrs Pullen said.

"He looked really tough, he was big and had a bald head. He was covered in tattoos, but he was really a marshmallow.

"He was a big cuddly bear and he was a loving son, brother and uncle."

Mrs Pullen also had a message for her son today: "Tim wherever you may be, may your spirit be free."

If you have any information about the location of Timothy Pullen's body, you contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.

Originally published as 'Discarded like rubbish': Mum desperate to find son's body