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Former TV reporter, partner missing a week after allegedly being killed by police officer in "crime of passion"

Police divers were searching inland waterways on Monday for the bodies of a missing couple who were allegedly shot dead in Sydney a week earlier by a jilted police-officer lover with his service pistol.

Police allege former television reporter Jesse Baird, 26, and his flight attendant partner Luke Davies, 29, were shot dead in Baird's shared house in the inner-Sydney suburb of Paddington on Monday last week, New South Wales Police Force Deputy Commissioner David Hudson said. Neighbors reported hearing one or more gunshots.

Senior-Constable Beau Lamarre-Condon was charged on Friday with the murders of both. He has not entered a plea or applied for release on bail.

Lamarre-Condon, 28, had been in a relationship with Baird that ended late last year.

Police suspect Lamarre-Condon took the bodies in a rented van to a rural property in Bungonia near Goulburn, about 125 miles southwest of Sydney, on Wednesday. Lamarre-Condon then left a female acquaintance there before driving the van onto the property and returning 30 minutes later, BBC News reported, citing police. She "wasn't aware the bodies were in the vehicle" and has been cooperating with detectives, Hudson said.

Police allege Lamarre-Condon returned to the property on Thursday after buying an angle grinder and weights from a department store that detectives suspect were used to sink the bodies in a waterway.

Police divers searched a number of reservoirs on farms in the Bungonia region on Monday.

"It's our number one priority to try and locate Jesse and Luke to give the families some solace," Hudson told reporters.

Lamarre-Condon was following legal advice by refusing to speak to police, Hudson said.

A bullet case found in Baird's home matched the pistol Lamarre-Condon signed out of a police gun safe on Thursday, Feb. 15, and returned on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Police Commissioner Karen Webb said the rules that allowed the police officer to allegedly use the gun in a violent crime while he was off duty were being reviewed.

"It's a failure if someone has used their service firearm in the manner that's alleged, which is why it's necessary to have a review," Webb said.

The board of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is considering calls for police to be banned from marching in this year's annual parade on Saturday in response to the alleged police murder of a gay couple.

Webb said police officers should be allowed to march.

"We have been participating in Mardi Gras for the last 20 years and haven't missed a year and I would hate to see that this is the year that we are excluded because of the actions of one person that is not gay hate-related," Webb said.

"This is a crime of passion, we will allege. It is domestic-related, we allege, and that would be a real travesty for this organization to be excluded," Webb added.

Police began suspecting a homicide on Wednesday when the couple's bloodstained possessions including a phone, wallet, credit cards and a set of keys were found in a trash container 19 miles from the crime scene.

Police initially suspected Baird had killed Davies after messages from Baird's phone to his housemates told them he was moving across the country to the west coast city of Perth and asking them to put his belongings in storage.

Police now allege Lamarre-Condon sent the messages to divert suspicion after Davies died.

Baird had been a presenter and red carpet reporter on Network 10's morning show Studio 10, while Davies was a flight attendant for Qantas, BBC News reported.

Lamarre-Condon joined the police force in 2019. Photos posted online show the former celebrity blogger posing with dozens of A-listers including Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Harry Styles.

The incident has garnered "extensive media reporting" in Australia, police acknowledged in a statement Monday while announcing that a team from the State Crime Command's Homicide Squad would investigate the deaths.

The case is believed to be the first suspected murder carried out by a New South Wales police officer in decades, BBC News reported.

Police officers work at a crime scene at Waite Road in Paddington, Sydney, Australia, Feb. 23, 2024.
Police officers work at a crime scene at Waite Road in Paddington, Sydney, Australia, Feb. 23, 2024. AAP Image/Dean Lewins via Reuters
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