A grim find led to a worse end: the case of two missing men that horrified Sydney over three days

<span>The bodies of Luke Davies and Jesse Baird had not been found by Friday evening.</span><span>Composite: NSW police/Network 10</span>
The bodies of Luke Davies and Jesse Baird had not been found by Friday evening.Composite: NSW police/Network 10

It began when some blood-covered clothes, a phone, watch and wallet were discovered in a skip in the beachside suburb of Cronulla in Sydney’s south on Wednesday morning.

Two days after announcing that the find had raised “grave concerns” for two missing men in a relationship, New South Wales police charged one of their own constables – a former partner of one of the men – with two counts of murder.

Ballistic tests showed he had used a force-issued handgun, police alleged. They believe he then hired a white van to dispose of their bodies.

Related: Sydney police officer Beau Lamarre charged with murder of TV presenter Jesse Baird and his partner Luke Davies

Beau Lamarre, 28, turned himself in to colleagues at a local police station and was charged with the murder of Jesse Baird – his ex-boyfriend and a former Channel Ten presenter – and Baird’s new partner, 29-year-old Qantas flight attendant Luke Davies.

But police said Lamarre had not assisted them as they sought more information.

The bodies of Baird and Davies had not been found by Friday evening, as Lamarre appeared in court for the first time.

The selfie-enthused former celebrity blogger turned member of a specialist police force spoke only once during the five-minute hearing – to clarify the date of his next court appearance.

He did not apply for bail and will remain behind bars for the next eight weeks while police prepare a brief of evidence and search for the bodies of his alleged victims.

‘Grave concerns’

Baird, a 26-year-old AFL goal umpire, had previously presented on the morning program Studio 10, but finished up at Channel Ten in January.

He had only recently entered into a relationship with Davies – police believe Baird and Lamarre had broken up only a couple of months ago. Baird’s former workplace, Channel Ten, reported Lamarre had struggled with Baird’s decision to end their relationship.

Photos from the social media accounts of Baird and Davies show them enjoying life together in Sydney, including at a Pink concert in February.

Another snap of the pair, taken at the lighthouse at Palm Beach earlier this month, reads: “Perfect start to a long weekend.”

Police did not get wind of the couples’ disappearance until Wednesday morning, but they believe the alleged murders took place on Mondayin Baird’s Paddington terrace share house in the city’s east.

At about 9.30pm that night, Lamarre is alleged to have hired a white van from the southern suburb of Mascot to move their bodies.

“From the evidence we’ve gleaned today we believe that the fate of both Luke and Jesse was at the house in Paddington and at some stage the white van was [allegedly] used to transport their bodies to another location,” Det Supt Daniel Doherty, of the New South Wales homicide squad, told reporters on Friday.

Lamarre did not report for duty on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Police have now located the van – a white Toyota HiAce – but are still seeking CCTV footage or other information about where it was between Monday evening and when it was found at Grays Point, not far from Cronulla, on Friday.

“It’s important we get the movements in relation to that van, as hopefully we can find the bodies, and this is important for the family,” Doherty said.

Exactly what happened between Monday evening and Friday is still the subject of investigation.

Officers arrived at Baird’s Paddington home – a 30km drive from Cronulla – shortly after the bloodied possessions were found.

There police found “a large amount of blood” as well as the casing of one bullet, and by 1pm had established a crime scene.

Police alleged ballistic tests later showed the firearm that had allegedly been discharged was owned by police, and had been returned to a storage locker at a station after Monday’s alleged murder.

Locals interviewed on Wednesday reported having heard shouting from the vicinity of the house on Monday morning, police alleged.

That afternoon, investigators searched Davies’ home in nearby Waterloo, but found no trace of him or Baird.

Neither had used their bank accounts in recent days. Baird’s WhatsApp account had shown as active on Tuesday night, which led police on Wednesday to issue a plea for him to come forward.

It would prove fruitless.

By Thursday, police said they were looking for a third person in connection with the couple’s disappearance. They suspected it was someone known to the couple, announcing investigators would “continue to look at all past relationships and associations” of the pair.

That evening, reports emerged that a police officer was involved.

Detectives executed a search warrant at a home in Balmain, which property records suggest was Lamarre’s family home.

Officers seized a number of items during the raid just before midnight.

On Friday, waking up to a 36C and humid Sydney with his face all over the newspapers as a suspect, Lamarre turned himself in.

He reported to Bondi police station at 10.30am wearing a black T-shirt and cap, footage later released by police shows.

Hours later, police charged Lamarre with two counts of murder, announcing they believed they had sufficient evidence.

Unorthodox route

The path of Beaumont Lamarre-Condon, as he is formally known, to the NSW police force was unorthodox.

He ran a now defunct celebrity website called That’s The Tea and another called the Australian Reporter, which was deregistered in 2016.

In videos posted online he can be seen interviewing celebrities, including Russell Crowe, at red carpet events.

Social media photographs depict Lamarre with a range of show business personalities including Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus.

On one occasion in 2013, he attended a media call for a Qantas gala dinner, interviewing celebrities such as Miranda Kerr about her love for the airline and career plans.

Baird had the brightest of futures stolen from him

Lachlan Kennedy

“What is it that you love about Qantas airways?” he asked John Travolta at the event. “Well, uh, everything,” Travolta told Lamarre.

His first notable brush with fame came in 2014, when he was a teenager.

Lamarre was at a Lady Gaga concert in Sydney when he reportedly threw a note on the stage in which he came out as gay. He was later invited backstage by the singer, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

“Through your music, you have helped and will continue to set free many people. If possible, I would love to come and personally give you a hug and thank you backstage for finally setting me free. My life will then be forever complete,” Lamarre wrote to the pop star. “Gaga, you’re not just my idol but LITERALLY my saviour,” he said.

Lamarre did not shy away from his identity as a gay man or a police officer. He was pictured in the police contingent marching in the Sydney Mardi Gras parade in 2020.

Lamarre appeared before Waverley local court for an initial hearing on Friday afternoon, accompanied by two police officers.

He was expressionless, blinking slowly, as he sat in the dock.

Meanwhile, the family of Baird and Davies are “devastated”, police said.

“His talent was undeniable and energy infection,” one of Baird’s former colleagues, Channel Ten reporter Lachlan Kennedy, said on Friday. “For years we chatted footy, utes and country music,” he said of Baird who “had the brightest of futures stolen from him”.

Qantas said it was providing support to Davies’s colleagues.

Davies’s brother, Jermaine, paid tribute to the couple on X.

“Jesse … You would’ve fit in so well as a friend of the household,” he wrote. “Rest, darling.”

The case will next be heard on 23 April.