UPDATE: Police believe whoever is responsible for the murder of a Cooktown woman was very likely someone she knew.

Investigations into the disappearance of mother-of-two Donna Louise Steele, 42, are continuing today after a woman's body was found in a remote creek about 20km outside the small town.

Far North Det Insp Geoff Marsh said the body had been scientifically examined and believed it was her.

She was last seen at the IGA supermarket in Helen St last Wednesday.


Donna Steele was last seen at a Cooktown supermarket on August 3.
Donna Steele was last seen at a Cooktown supermarket on August 3.

Det Insp Marsh said the alarm was raised by her partner, who works away from town, who returned to their Poison Creek Rd home on Thursday and found her gone.

He said her two young children, aged 8 and 10, arrived home from school on Wednesday and she was not there.

"(The town is in) absolute shock," Det Insp Marsh said.

"It has devastated that small community.

"We are confident that (the culprit) was a person known to her."

He said a lack of CCTV in the remote town was a "roadblock" to the investigation and police are continuing to call on anyone with information to come forward.

Specialist homicide and scientific investigators have arrived in town today, while the police dive squad will examine the creek where her body was found.

The SES are assisting with a search of the river bank.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police or anonymously via Crimestoppers.


EARLIER: Murder suspected after woman's body found in Qld creek

MULTIPLE crime scenes are in place around Cooktown as part of a murder investigation after a woman's wrapped body was found in an isolated creek.

The body is yet to be formally identified, although police believe it likely belongs to local woman Donna Louise Steele, 42, who had been missing since Wednesday.

A major search, involving police and the Rescue 510 helicopter, had been taking place for the mother-of-two over the weekend before police were called to Leggett's Crossing on Endeavour Valley Rd about 5.20am.

It is understood a passer by spotted the wrapped body in water at a site about 20km outside Cooktown.

Far North police Det Insp Geoff Marsh confirmed several crime scenes had been established at the crossing and other sites around the Far North town.

Police also attended a property on Endeavour Valley Rd early yesterday which the Cairns Post understands belongs to a close friend of Ms Steele.

Det Insp Marsh would not confirm if they had any suspects, but said the circumstances were suspicious and they were "following a number of lines of inquiry".

Ms Steele had last been seen at the IGA supermarket on Helen St in Cooktown about 12.15pm on Wednesday.

When police first reported her missing they said they had concerns for her as she suffered a medical condition.

Her friend Kath Pennell spoke out yesterday, saying the incident had left the small township in shock.

"I am so devastated that I can barely speak," she said.

"I will say she was a beautiful mother and friend.

"She loved her children so much. I can't believe someone has done this to her."

Det Insp Marsh said police were offering support to Ms Steele's family including her two young children.

He said specialist homicide and scientific officers from Brisbane were being flown in to assist Cairns and Cooktown investigators.

Police have called on anyone with information to come forward and investigations remain ongoing.

News Corp Australia

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