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Human leg found on NT highway belonged to a pedestrian hit by a vehicle, police believe

Authorities have not yet identified the owner of the limb found on the Stuart Highway near Darwin

Stuart Highway
Members of the public have told police they witnessed an incident on Monday night on the section of the Stuart Highway where the leg was found. Photograph: Jonny Weeks/The Guardian
Members of the public have told police they witnessed an incident on Monday night on the section of the Stuart Highway where the leg was found. Photograph: Jonny Weeks/The Guardian

The partial human leg found on a major Northern Territory highway was the result of a pedestrian being run over, police believe.

But they still don’t know where the victim is, or if the person is dead or alive, and have not ruled out foul play.

“At this time, the owner of the leg has not been identified nor the rest of the person,” Det Sr Sgt Paul Morrissey said on Wednesday.

“We’ve got no one in hospital with those sort of injuries.”

Members of the public have told police they witnessed an incident at about 8pm on Monday night on the section of the Stuart Highway, near Darwin, where the leg was found.

Crash investigators have also found evidence to support the conclusion a vehicle hit a pedestrian, and Morrissey said the injured person could have survived.

“The additional information was it was survival but would need medical treatment as soon as possible,” he said.

Morrissey said on Tuesday the remains were from “a dark-skinned human being”.

A forensic pathologist has determined the victim was either a teenager or an adult.

It’s understood the lower section of the leg had a foot attached.

The limb was spotted by a traveller who was driving on the highway in Coolalinga, 30km south of Darwin, about 9am on Tuesday.

A crime scene was declared around 10.30am.

An extensive search of the area by officers, drones, police on motorbikes and the dog squad did not find the victim or any other body parts.

Police are examining missing person reports, and dashcam footage and CCTV from the area.