An Indigenous Teenager Has Been Found Dead In A Queensland River After Police Chase

"You were just a kid, still a baby."

Robert Malayta

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The body of a missing teenager has been retrieved from a river after he drowned during a police chase in Queensland.

Robert Malayta was found in Ross River in Townsville on Friday, the day he was reported missing. The 18-year-old was allegedly driving a stolen vehicle, and ran into the river with a fellow passenger on foot after officers threw road spikes at the tires.

“It’s not fair that you were taken too soon from us,” said his sister Shanice Noack on Sunday. “You could’ve done so much with your life, and you should have had the chance to prove it.

“What happened to you should have never had happened. What happened to you was injustice, and whoever is responsible for this should be held accountable,” she said. “You were just a kid, still a baby.”

A dog squad, the State Emergency Service, water police, rescue helicopters, drones, and police divers formed the search and recovery operation. Acting Superintendent Brad Inskip said his death was being treated as a result of a police operation and told the ABC an investigation has been launched by the Police Ethical Standards.

He said Malayta’s death served as a reminder to the young people of Townsville about engaging in “risky behaviour”, commenting that “unfortunately these can be the consequences of what they’re doing.”

A fundraiser has been set up by Malayta’s family to help cover the cost of his funeral service. “Robert was a happy, loving, cheeky young man who touched the lives of those around him,” a family member wrote on the donation page. “We are absolutely devastated by Robert’s passing.”