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Queensland man charged over murders from 25 years ago

A 51-year-old Queensland man was arrested on Monday over two alleged murders committed 25 years ago. 

Russell Williams was charged over the disappearance and suspected murders of Robert Grayson and Derek Van Der Poel in Gladstone in the early 1990s.

Police commenced Operation Gaze in September 1994 – one month after Mr Grayson, 26 at the time, was reported missing and just days after Mr Van Der Poel, 23 at the time, was reported missing. 

Russell Williams, 51, was charged over the alleged murders of Robert Grayson (pictured) and Derek Van Der Poel, who police believe were killed in 1993

Russell Williams, 51, was charged over the alleged murders of Robert Grayson (right) and Derek Van Der Poel (left), who police believe were killed in 1993

Both men had last been seen alive in the Kroombit Tops National Park in May of 1993.

The pair are believed to have been ‘crop sitters’, who were watching over a marijuana plantation in the area.

Williams has been charged with two counts of murder and drug production.

Detective Inspector Darrin Shadlow told reporters on Monday Williams had been a person of interest for ‘quite some time’, and was known to police.

He said Queensland police were still searching for others involved.

‘Today’s arrest is significant and a testament to the exhaustive efforts of investigators, however our investigation is not over yet,’ he said.

Police will allege in court the two men were crop sitters watching a marijuana plantation in the Kroombit Tops National Park and Williams believed they were stealing

Police will allege in court the two men were crop sitters watching a marijuana plantation in the Kroombit Tops National Park and Williams believed they were stealing

‘We are using this opportunity to further appeal to anyone with information to contact us.

‘Most importantly, as a result of this arrest, we will be making other enquiries regarding the possible involvement of other people in these offences.’

A $250,000 reward remains in place for information which leads to the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the disappearance and suspected murder of Robert Grayson and Derek Van Der Poel. 

An appropriate indemnity from prosecution will also be recommended for any accomplice, not being the person who actually committed the crime, who first provides such information.’

Williams will appear in the Gladstone Magistrates Court on Tuesday January 30.

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