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A man has been charged over the deaths of an elderly real estate couple who were murdered and set on fire.
Police arrested a 28-year-old man from Goodna on Sunday morning in relation to the horrific alleged killings of Christine Stephan, 68, and Joe Stephan, 73.
Neighbours told the Courier Mail there were no indication of any suspicious behaviour in the lead up to the alleged murder and they were unaware there was a fire in the property until emergency services arrived.
The man was charged with two counts of murder, one count of arson and one count of unlawful use of a vehicle on Sunday morning, Queensland police said.
Police say they have ‘ruled nothing out’ as they investigate the deaths of Christine Stephan, 68, and Joe Stephan, 73, who were discovered in a home’s charred remains in Collingwood Park, south of Brisbane on Sunday morning
Police said they had ‘ruled nothing out’ as they investigate the deaths of the pair who were discovered in a home’s charred remains south-west of Brisbane on Sunday morning.
The couple’s bodies were found in the burnt-out remains of a Collingwood Park home on January 23, with post-mortem results later showing ‘evidence of violence’.
Police are now looking for two motor vehicles in relation to the investigation, a green dual-cab ute and a black Mercedes Benz.
Acting Inspector Heath McQueen on Friday described the investigation into the suspicious deaths as ‘complex’ and expected it to continue into next week after establishing an incident centre at an Ipswich police station.
‘Post-mortems have been conducted… I am unable to go into details other than confirming their deaths are suspicious, and not contributable to the fire, with evidence of violence,’ Acting Insp McQueen said.
‘This is a complex investigation, in which all possible options as to the cause of their deaths is being fully explored.
‘We have ruled nothing out at this stage.’
Pictured is the burnt-out garage of the home. Emergency crews arrived at 1am on Sunday
He said ‘extensive’ forensic tests were continuing at the Hannant Street home, which has been declared a crime scene.
The couple were found in the lower level of the home, which quickly caught alight early on Sunday.
‘They were both so genuine, helpful and caring [people] who always offered their help even when not asked,’ a Facebook post from Mr Stephan’s work colleagues Rudy and Alma said.
Emergency crews were first called to the home about 1am but by then it was well alight with smoke billowing from the roof.
The couple who have been identified by colleagues on social media were found in the lower level of the home which quickly caught alight early on Sunday
Ipswich detectives are leading the investigation – code-named Operation Verdite – with assistance from homicide, forensic and scientific officers.
‘Complex and detailed forensic examinations, as well as investigations and interviews by detectives, will continue for some time,’ Acting Insp McQueen said.
‘I understand the interest from the media and the community, and rightly so, however, to maintain the integrity of the investigation, I am unable to provide any further details or updates at this time.’
He said anyone with information should contact police.