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Police link bones discovery to French backpacker who disappeared in Australia

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House REUTERS/David Gray

Human bones found on the Australian coast last month are believed to be those of a French backpacker who went missing near a surf beach in February, police said Monday.

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Erwan Ferrieux, 21, and 20-year-old Hugo Palmer from England were last seen at picturesque Shelly Beach, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Sydney.

Police said three bones were found by fishermen in nearby waters in mid-June, close to where their rental car had been abandoned four months earlier.

Forensic testing revealed the bones belonged to the same person.

"The DNA comparison of the three bones that were located in early June have confirmed that they did come from [a single] male person," Detective Superintendent Paul Fehon told reporters Monday.

"We believe from the DNA comparisons that [they belong] to Erwan Ferrieux."

Another small bone was found in the same area on Sunday.

However, police said it was too early to say whether it belonged to either of the missing men.

Further forensic examinations are due to be carried out on all of the remains.

Police called off their search for the two men five days after they went missing on February 17.

At a vigil held for the men in February, French Consul General Nicolas Crozier told national broadcaster ABC that Ferrieux's family was in shock.

"They are very proud of their son," he said.

The two friends had been travelling in Australia since November, the ABC reported.

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