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Missing mum Angie Fuller: Inside the NT homicide investigation into woman’s disappearance in arid desert

Headshot of Kristin Shorten
Kristin Shorten
The Nightly
Young mum Angie Fuller went missing on the remote Tanami Rd in the NT.
Young mum Angie Fuller went missing on the remote Tanami Rd in the NT. Credit: The Nightly

A young mum is missing in the Outback after multiple carloads of gangsters reportedly ran her car off the road before chasing her – and her boyfriend – into the dark central Australian desert at night while shooting at them.

That is what Jake Jefferson Peters says happened immediately before his girlfriend, Angie Fuller, vanished “without a trace” into the arid desert outside of Alice Springs in the early hours of January 10 last year.

Now, almost 17 months after Ms Fuller’s disappearance, The Nightly can reveal why Northern Territory police believe the 30-year-old was probably murdered in the 48 hours before she was reported missing and are desperate to pin down the movements of two vehicles during that crucial window of time.

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In his first sit-down interview, the officer in charge of Ms Fuller’s homicide investigation, Detective Sergeant Ashley Dudson, quelled speculation about the involvement of a “gang” and provided a rare insight into what he believes happened right before Ms Fuller vanished from a remote stretch of road in the dead of the night.

The young mum, who had recently relocated to Alice Springs, had arrived back in town – after a few weeks in Darwin – just hours before she went missing.

On Sunday, January 8, 2023, Ms Fuller and her friend Lauren had set off from Darwin in two separate cars with Ms Fuller driving her red Toyota Corolla.

The pair, who rested overnight at Renner Springs, made multiple stops along the way to pose for photos at the Devils Marbles sacred site and an outback pub.

When the young women reached Alice Springs on January 9, they parted ways.

Sgt Dudson, who is currently in charge of the major crime squad, says Ms Fuller was last seen at 6.40pm that night at a truckstop, north of Alice Springs.

“This is the last independent sighting we have,” Sgt Dudson said. “She was with her boyfriend. We know that from CCTV.”

Northern Territory police believe Angie Fuller, 30, was probably murdered in the 48 hours before she was reported missing.
Northern Territory police believe Angie Fuller, 30, was probably murdered in the 48 hours before she was reported missing. Credit: Facebook

Ms Fuller – who has two daughters – has not made contact with her family, accessed her bank accounts or logged into her social media accounts since that night.

On January 10, a member of the public came across Ms Fuller’s abandoned car on the side of Tanami Road, about 15km west of the Stuart Highway intersection.

Late on the night of January 11, more than 48 hours after her last confirmed sighting, Mr Peters reported his girlfriend missing.

Missing mother Angie Fuller on January 9.
Missing mother Angie Fuller on January 9. Credit: Supplied/Facebook

Police from across the Territory immediately swarmed the region and spent 15 days scouring 400 square kilometres of difficult terrain and an abandoned abattoir for any trace of the “friendly” young woman who had “no conflicts with anyone”.

But that missing 48 hours – along with the location’s remoteness, harsh terrain, extreme weather and lack of witnesses – significantly hindered the search operation. It also impeded the homicide investigation that had commenced in parallel.

In the days that followed, Mr Peters recorded multiple videos – animatedly detailing his version of events and recording his confrontations with police at the search site – which were then shared on social media.

When Mr Peters – who described himself as a “sovereign citizen” – arrived at the search and rescue operation’s staging area, police searched his silver Nissan Pulsar.

In a series of videos the 26-year-old recorded “for my legal purposes”, a police officer is heard explaining to Mr Peters why his car was searched, while he protests that zip ties and green string found in his car “are not mine”.

“Jake, just for your information, the only reason we searched your car is we’ve got a missing person,” the officer said.

“You’re in the area that we are searching. I’m just trying to figure out why you’re here.

“I’m just trying to ascertain, is this car related to that?”

Mr Peters tells the officer “that missing person is my girlfriend”.

“I have every right to be part of this search. I have every right.”

In a longer video, filmed at a different location, Mr Peters detailed his version of events.

“Four nights ago, me and my girlfriend got ran off the road and then we got shot at by a gang,” he said.

“And then it just multiplied, more carloads were just rocking up like, you know, hectically.

“Like I mean, we had a 10-minute brief to try and get the car out of, you know, being bogged but whatever. Anyways they um yeah rocked up and just started shooting.

“I mean more cars were just coming in, like ‘what the f---?’”

The Alice Springs man said the pair then fled, on foot, into the pitch-black bushland while dodging bullets.

“I tried my best, you know. She just told me to ‘f--- off’ but I still stuck you know, still tried to keep an eye on her, you know, so I let her pass and whatnot you know,” he said.

“Watch over her, then pass her, then watch from behind.

A map of the area.
A map of the area. Credit: Created with Datawrapper

“I didn’t even realise, like, I thought she was behind me at one stage and then she passed me so I lost her, you know?

“I lost her and I heard her scream. I ran towards the scream. I was like ‘f--- the gun, I’m coming for ya’.”

Mr Peters said he tried to keep sight of his girlfriend while evading the gangsters.

“I was running as fast as I could … whilst trying to still stay incognito which I did, you know?” he said to the camera.

“I had this all around me and I was just f---ing like too light on my feet, you know?

“The last thing I heard my missus say, when she screamed that second time, I ran, I was still running.

“I started running again, faster, and I whistled out and then they stopped.

“When I got to that spot, I sussed it out, they were gone.”

Mr Peters said he heard his girlfriend “one more time” before they became separated.

“She said, ‘get the f--- away from me’. She screamed it out,” he said.

“By that time I was like near the, near the closest smallest hill going up.

“I just gunned it up that hill and I had a perfect, perfect view of my surroundings but I don’t know. Still couldn’t spot her, you know, and I could spot these blokes, like all sneaking around.”

The “smallest hill” is understood to reference the ridge line in the MacDonnell Ranges.

“It was too close to home, you know,” he said.

“It was on the Tanami. It’s my home.”

The location was, quite literally, close to Mr Peters’ home. So close that he possibly walked back there after the incident.

After 15 days and finding no trace of Ms Fuller, the search and rescue operation was suspended and the homicide investigation took over.

“There have been numerous search warrants executed at various locations,” Sgt Dudson said. “They have not all been in the NT.”

NT Police conducting their air search for Angie Fuller in 2023.
NT Police conducting their air search for Angie Fuller in 2023. Credit: NT Police/NT Police

Assistant Commissioner Michael White has previously confirmed Mr Peters was a person of interest who was “continuing to assist police at times”.

But Sgt Dodson this week refused to reveal whether police have a suspect or suspected motive for Ms Fuller’s murder.

“Nothing that can be confirmed,” he said. “All I can say is we’re investigating it as a homicide and we’re considering all of the options.

“Where people have provided accounts, we’ve done everything that we can to corroborate them through independent means.”

While police have obtained various versions of events, what has been somewhat “corroborated” is that Ms Fuller was likely driving her red Toyota Corolla – with Mr Peters in the passenger seat – when it came into contact with an unrelated vehicle on the Tanami Road in the early hours of January 10.

“We’ve spoken to the occupants of the other vehicle,” Sgt Dudson said.

“The information that we have is that there was an interaction between the occupants of the two vehicles.

“This culminated in the two vehicles coming into contact with each other, which resulted in Angie’s vehicle leaving the roadway and going off on to the shoulder and becoming bogged.”

Mr Peters claimed that the couple tried to get the bogged car unstuck for 10 minutes before fleeing into the bush.

The mother of two has not made contact with her family, accessed her bank accounts or logged into her social media accounts since that night.
The mother of two has not made contact with her family, accessed her bank accounts or logged into her social media accounts since that night. Credit: Facebook

“We believe they ran off after the incident on the Tanami,” Sgt Dudson said.

Police won’t elaborate on what may have happened after that but detectives have honed in on another two vehicles: a 1986 Camouflaged Daihatsu Rocky with the rear canopy removed and no registration plates and Mr Peters’ 1998 Silver Nissan Pulsar Sedan.

Police believe Mr Peters had access to these two vehicles in the time between Ms Fuller’s car getting bogged and when she was reported missing.

The 1998 Silver Nissan PUlsar Sedan which police focused on in the investigation.
Mr Peters’ 1998 Silver Nissan Pulsar Sedan has become one focus for police in the investigation. Credit: Supplied/NT Police

Detectives know where the vehicles are – one is at their evidence yard in Alice Springs – and are only interested in their movements during that window.

Soon after Ms Fuller’s disappearance, Mr Peters fled to Queensland where he was arrested in relation to an armed and violent carjacking attempt at Ipswich, south of Brisbane, last April.

Queensland police allege Mr Peters attempted to steal Elaine Rose’s car while she was at a Zarraffa’s coffee drive-through before getting into a physical altercation with a 25-year-old father who tried to intervene.

He then allegedly tried to pull the man’s two-year-old daughter from her car seat while allegedly trying to steal his vehicle.

Jake Peters, the boyfriend of Angie Fuller, made several bizarre video posts.
Jake Peters, the boyfriend of Angie Fuller, made several bizarre video posts. Credit: TikTok/TikTok

Meanwhile, back in the Territory, police have since searched another area – the desert shrubland and red dirt around the north-western ridgeline of the MacDonnell Ranges – for Ms Fuller and her missing possessions but found nothing.

“We have one of her mobile phones. We haven’t located her primary one,” Sgt Dudson said.

“We are still missing the vehicle keys from her car and obviously any personal items she was wearing at the time, such as jewellery, are outstanding.”

In October, NT Police offered a $250,000 reward for information leading to the location of Angie’s body and the conviction of anyone responsible for her death.

In addition to the quarter-million dollar reward, indemnity from prosecution may be recommended for any accomplice, not being the person who actually committed the crime, who first gives such information.

“We can’t say definitively what has happened to Angie,” Sgt Dudson said.

“There is that possibility that more than one person was involved.

“There’s also the possibility if it was a single person, that they then told someone else about it.

“If anyone has any sort of credible information, we’d urge them to come forward and provide it to assist the investigation and hopefully provide some answers to Angie’s family.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 and quote #10228143.

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