THE mother of Michael Burdon has described the minutes leading up to the moment her son took his own life while surrounded by detectives pressing him about the disappearance of his wife Tanja Ebert.
In a heartfelt interview with Channel 7, Marlis Burdon said police should have had a duty of care to her distressed son and questioned how he was able to get his hands on a firearm with detectives only metres away.
On August 16, police were at Mr Burdon’s door at his rural property, Oulnina Park, in the state’s north.
A week before, Mr Burdon, 41, had told police the last he had seen of his wife Tanja, 23, was when she had got out of the family car near Roseworthy.
He said she had not been seen since.
While officers combed the countryside where Mr Burdon said Tanja had left the car after an argument, Major Crime detectives followed their own line of inquiry, which led them straight to Oulnina Park, at Mannahill.media_camera
Ms Burdon was at the property on that fateful day taking care of the couple’s two young sons when detectives arrived.
“They didn’t even come and introduce themselves to me and say hello or tell me what they were going to do,” Ms Burdon told Today Tonight.
“They were suddenly there and closeted themselves in the kitchen with Michael.
“I saw Michael every now and then looking really pale and pasty, very unhappy. They treated him like an animal.
“Once he spoke to his lawyer, they turned the recorder off and then said I believe that they were going to dig up Oulnina Park. At that stage I think he lost it.”
The 400sq km station near Manna Hill in the state’s north, had been the pride of Mr Burdon’s father.
South Australian police speak about the disappearance of Tanja Ebert5:36
SA Police Detective Superintendent Des Bray speaks to reporters in Adelaide about the disappearance eight days ago of young mum Tanja Ebert.
South Australian police speak about the disappearance of Tanja Ebert
Following his death the sprawling property was inherited by Mr Burdon who continued to work the property with Tanya by his side.
On that day, as police contemplated a lengthy search of the scrubland, outbuildings and paddocks for Tanja’s body, Mr Burdon took matters into his own hands.
“They were all outside discussing I don’t know what, when he said he needed to go to the toilet, and he left,” Ms Burdon said.
“He somehow managed to get a gun and ammunition, ran further away from the station and then someone heard the muffled shot. Then it was all over.
“An officer came over and said, ‘I’m sorry to have to tell you like this but your son is dead’. It was the most horrible thing.”
Ms Burdon questioned how her son was able to get his hands on a firearm despite being the main suspect in what police strongly believe is a murder.media_camera
“How did he get access to anything, a gun or ammunition?” Ms Burdon said.
“Maybe a duty of care wouldn’t be a bad thing instead of going in there guns blazing.”
After the suicide the long search began with police not having any clues or indication of where they were looking.
“It was like an invasion, they ripped up roads, they twisted water piping, nobody cleaned up after the chaos and damage that they created,” Ms Burdon said.
“Heavy machinery was left without fuel, and had to be bled by a mechanic in order to get them to work again.”
Ms Burdon remains unsure of whether her son did the unthinkable, killing his young wife while his sons would have been nearby.
“I know there are crimes of passion where people feel so deeply they act in haste, I don’t think he was that kind of person, though he was very upset,” Ms Burdon said.
“I don’t believe it. I think she might still be there somewhere, I think she is on the way.
“If Michael had hidden the body, nobody will find it, he knew every rock on the station.” IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW NEEDS HELP CONTACT LIFELINE ON 13 11 14 OR BEYONDBLUE ON 1300 22 4636.