Tragic Details Emerge After Four Found Dead In Remote Central Australia

Tragic details have emerged after the bodies of a young family and a child were found in a remote part of Central Australia.

Northern Territory Police say the four people likely died after succumbing to the elements when their car ran out of fuel near Willowra, about 300 kilometres northwest of Alice Springs.

Southern Desert Division Superintendent Jody Nobbs described the deaths as "heartbreaking" for the community and the emergency service family who responded.

"It's a tragic situation in terms of the outcome, but it's not uncommon for police to undertake search and rescue operations for people stranded within our local environment," he told told reporters on Friday.

The bodies of a young family -- a 19-year-old man, a 19-year-old woman and a three-year-old -- were located on Wednesday, 4.5 kilometres from their broken down vehicle, after a man from the Willowra community raised the alarm.

10 News First understands a family member made the tragic discovery.

Police searching for a missing 12-year-old boy, who was believed to be with the family but not among the deceased, found the body of a child 120 metres away on Thursday afternoon.

The child has not yet been formally identified.

"One hundred and twenty metres doesn't sound like much, but in the context of a rugged, remote, vast location, it was certainly something that we did not locate within our early search," Std. Nobbs said.

READ MORE: Body Of Child Found Following Search In Central Australia 

Police were alerted to the deaths when a person walked into a local Willowra health clinic just after midday on Wednesday.

It was first reported as a fatal motor vehicle accident, though police soon ruled this out and proceeded with a land and air search.

The group was last seen leaving the nearby Ti Tree community on Friday bound for the Jarra Jarra outstation.

The bodies and and car were found about 18 kilometres from Jarra Jarra.

Four bodies were found in the Northern Territory.

Superintendent Nobbs said the car was "un-roadworthy" and had a flat tyre, while the temperature on Friday and over the weekend sat at about 40 degrees Celsius.

"It's difficult to determine after the vehicle broken down where they walked to and the route they have taken," he said.

"It is a relatively limited outback access road.

"Given that there was no one residing at Jarra Jarra community at the time, it's not uncommon that no one had travelled on that road."

A land and air search was called off on Friday morning when police concluded there had been no more passengers.

"My heart and thoughts are with the community over this difficult time," Std Nobbs said. 

"We will continue to work with them over the coming days, weeks or however long is required to assist them in getting through the situation."

Contact the authors: ebrancatisano@networkten.com.au / hfoord@networkten.com.au

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