Murdered prospector Bruce Schuler. Police photo.
Murdered prospector Bruce Schuler. Police photo.

Widow vows to continue body hunt

THE Far Northern coroner has chosen not to hold an ­inquest into the death of murdered gold prospector Bruce Schuler, but his Cooktown widow vows she will never stop trying to bring him home.

Fiona Splitt had hoped an inquest would push his ­murderers Stephen Struber and Dianne Wilson-Struber into finally revealing the ­location of his body.

"It feels final and I don't know whether I'm ready for final," Ms Splitt said.

"I do understand that these are inhuman people and it was going to be a waste of everybody's time.

"But if they think I'm just going to lay down and be quiet now they're in for a shock.

"I'll just keep looking for ways to bring him home."

Fiona Splitt, the widow of murdered gold prospector Bruce Schuler who was instrumental in the no body, no parole legislation. Mr Schuler’s body has not been found since he was murdered prospecting on the Palmerville Station on July 9, 2012. Picture: Marc McCormack
Fiona Splitt, the widow of murdered gold prospector Bruce Schuler who was instrumental in the no body, no parole legislation. Mr Schuler’s body has not been found since he was murdered prospecting on the Palmerville Station on July 9, 2012. Picture: Marc McCormack

Mr Schuler was killed on July 9, 2012, while prospecting on Palmerville Station in Cape York.

"I have decided not to hold an inquest into the circumstances of Bruce Gavin Schuler's death because my coronial investigation has revealed ­sufficient information to ­enable me to make findings about his death," Coroner ­Nerida Wilson said.

Mr Struber and Ms Wilson-Struber were seen travelling in a vehicle towards where Mr Schuler was gold detecting. About 10-15 minutes later three people heard two ­gunshots.

Traces of Mr Schuler's DNA and blood were found nearby but his remains have never been located.

"Based on the totality of ­circumstantial evidence, it is my conclusion, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr Schuler died as a result of injuries suffered after being shot by Mr Struber and/or Ms Wilson- Struber," Coroner Wilson said.

CONVICTED: Murderers Dianne Wilson-Struber (left) and Stephen Struber (right) have remained silent about their involvement and the location of Bruce Schuler’s body. PICTURE: HARRY CLARKE
CONVICTED: Murderers Dianne Wilson-Struber (left) and Stephen Struber (right) have remained silent about their involvement and the location of Bruce Schuler’s body. PICTURE: HARRY CLARKE

In 2015 the pair were convicted of murder and are currently serving life terms with no chance of release under the no body, no parole laws.

The couple won't speak about their involvement or the location of his body.

"It seems unlikely that an inquest will result in Mr Struber and Ms Wilson-Struber breaking their silence," Coroner Wilson said.

"I offer my sincerest condolences to Ms Splitt and to the Schuler family for their loss."

Now that Coroner Wilson has finalised her investigation a death certificate can be ­issued, meaning Ms Splitt will be able to sell their joint properties to help ease any ­financial burden.

"Where do I go from here to get him back? What do we do to try and get them … to tell us where he is?" she said.

That one question has plagued her thoughts for six years through the couple's ­arrest, murder trial, Appeal and High Court appeals and the introduction of no body, no parole legislation.

"I think that's the frustrating part," she said. "Now this and still no Bruce."



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