Searching for the bodies of the owners, police dug into the garden and tore up the verandah of a country house.
Then they called a press conference to announce their concerns that Dr Roy Ostell, 63, and his wife Heather, 58, had been murdered.
But just as TV crews were setting up their cameras and reporters were opening their notebooks at the couple's home north of Melbourne, a Volkswagen campervan rumbled up the driveway.
At the wheel was the "dead" doctor and his "murdered" wife.
"What on earth is going on?" asked Mrs Ostell.
"Never mind that," exclaimed her daughter, Angela, who had contacted police to report her fears that something terrible had happened to her parents. "Where have you been?"
On hearing police fears that they had been murdered, the couple - who had merely been away for a short holiday - burst out laughing.
Their daughter had raised the alarm when she called at the home, near the small town of Narre Warren, to find the campervan missing, the front door wide open and no sign of her parents.
"That was my husband's fault, leaving the door open like that," said Mrs Ostell. "He's always doing it.
"It was very much a spur of the moment thing to go away to the coast last Friday.
"We told our other daughter, Melanie, about our plans but we couldn't contact Angela. It seems that nobody could get in touch with her, so she didn't know we'd taken the unusual step of of taking an instant short holiday."
The couple had arranged for their dog and ponies to be cared for by a neighbour, but Angela had not thought to check with neighbours about her parents' possible whereabouts.
"We're very sorry for all the trouble we've caused," Mrs Ostell told the police and the crowd of journalists who had turned up to hear details of what they expected to be a murder mystery.
The couple now plan to spend a few days filling in the holes in the garden and repairing the verandah.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
'Dead parents' show up at press conference about their murders
From the Daily Mail