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Mine worker body was too decomposed to find cause of death

Jennie and Raymond Kehlet.
Jennie and Raymond Kehlet.

Authorities cannot determine how a mine worker died more than four years ago because his body was too decayed to tell.

The Western Australia Police Force cannot confirm exactly how Fortescue Metals Group employee Raymond Kehlet (pictured right) died in 2015 while down a mineshaft at Sandstone, 495km east of Geraldton.

The 47-year-old, who worked at the Cloudbreak Iron Ore Mine, was last seen going on a prospecting trip with his wife Jennie (pictured left), 49, according to friend and colleague Graham Milne.

Job sharing arrangement

The pair had chosen a job sharing arrangement to give them more time to work on their farm, and thought it would be fun to abseil down old mine shafts to search for gold.

“Ray and Jennie shared similar interests and enjoyed being outdoors and working on their farm,” Counsel assisting the coroner Brendyn Nelson told the WA Coroner’s Court according to the Australian Associated Press. “They were described as being ‘laminated together’ and doing everything with [their dog] Ella where possible.”

Badly decomposed

It took a month before officers finally found the husband by which time his body was so badly decomposed they could not decide what he died from. They have not found the wife and believe she is also dead.

Nelson said Milne had provided four statements to police and been interviewed twice but never charged.

“Graham denies having any knowledge of the cause of, or information about, Ray’s death or Jennie’s disappearance,” Nelson said.

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Detective sergeant Stephen Cleal believes all people of interest have been eliminated except for Milne who is expected to testify shortly.

The inquest continues.

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