The body found in Sydney Harbour overnight has been confirmed to be that of missing man Paul Thijssen. Police were searching for the body in relation to the suspected homicide of Lilie James at an elite CBD school.
The body was reportedly identified after authorities used fingerprints from the Dutch embassy to match those of Netherlands-born Thijssen.
Police returned to the area on Friday to continue searching for the man after they received calls from local construction workers after a body was spotted floating in the water, per the Daily Mail.
The identification of the body follows the publishing of CCTV footage depicting Thijssen on the night of the alleged attack per The Age.
An hour after the attack was suspected to have taken place, he can be seen dumping a hammer into a bin before driving away.
He then waited for two hours around the corner, before calling 000 to inform authorities of Lilie James’ body being at the school.
Thijssen had already fled by the time Police arrived after tracing the call to his location.
“A police operation is currently underway to retrieve a body in Vaucluse,” a police statement on Friday said.
The development came after 21-year-old Lilie James was found dead in a gym bathroom at St Andrew’s Cathedral College late on Wednesday night.
NSW Police Superintendent Martin Fileman said James had suffered “serious head injuries”.
“From her injuries it was apparent she was a victim of a homicide,” he said.
“The actual scene was quite confronting for the police who turned up.”
It’s being reported that Thijssen phoned police shortly before midnight on Wednesday, informing them where to find her body. The phone call took place about four hours after James is believed to have died. However, police have not confirmed these claims.
The school has been closed for the rest of the week, with the superintendent offering support to staff and students.
“I understand that this is a highly upsetting and concerning update, and I want to support our alumni community in any way we can,” she said.