A COUPLE have vanished on an Australian highway - eerily close to where a Huddersfield backpacker was feared murdered.
Police are searching for the couple who have been missing for almost a week in Australia's Northern territory.
David Rawnsley, 33, and his 33-year-old fiancee Belinda Elliot were due to return home to Tennant Creek from Alice Springs last Thursday.
Tennant Creek is 200 miles further north on the Stuart Highway from Barrow Creek, where Hepworth man Peter Falconio vanished in July 2001.
He is thought to have been shot when he and his girlfriend Joanne Lees, of Almondbury, were ambushed.
Australian mechanic Bradley John Murdoch has been jailed for his murder.
But police are concerned that Mr Rawnsley and Miss Elliott are just the latest in a number of people to disappear in that region.
Two other men have vanished in recent months.
Mr Rawnsley spoke to his family the night before the couple were due to leave Alice Springs and told them they had experienced gearbox problems with the car, but were due to return home the following morning.
They have not been seen or heard from since.
Mr Rawnsley's mother Alison, who lives in Adelaide, said her son decided to go to Alice Springs to clear his head after being informed that his grandfather had died.
"He was extremely close to his grandfather and just wanted to get away for a couple of days," Mrs Rawnsley said.
"Then the car broke down, but he told us he'd had it fixed and they were going back home last Thursday.
"It's very uncharacteristic of him to go missing like this."
Acting sergeant Michael Whiting said Tennant Creek police believed the couple were still in Central Australia.
They hope to get in contact with the mechanic, who fixed the couple's gearbox, to help with their inquiries.
The couple were driving a black VN Holden Commodore.
They were travelling with their black kelpie dog called Kelly.