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Calls to investigate Carmel Brookes' disappearance from yacht

Mystery: Gerry Goeden with missing woman Carmel Brookes in Penang.

Mystery: Gerry Goeden with missing woman Carmel Brookes in Penang. Photo: Facebook

Former embassy employee Carmel Brookes had planned well for her retirement.

The 60-year-old had stashed away enough to divide her time between a luxury villa in Malaysia and cruising around the tranquil waters of the Andaman Ocean on a 12-metre yacht she shared with her de facto partner Gerry Goeden.

For emergencies and expenses she had $200,000 squirrelled away in an overseas bank account and was getting rental income from her two North Queensland properties and an inner Brisbane flat.

When she vanished off the deck of the yacht in mysterious circumstances in 2012, the main beneficiary of her $1 million plus nest-egg was the last person to see her alive - Goeden.

Initially, her friends weren't suspicious.

But then they learned Ms Brookes was the second love interest of the American-born marine biologist to meet with an unusual death.

His first wife, whose maiden name was Ellen Oppel, had died in 1984 after falling down a waterfall while on a fern picking trip with him at Barron Gorge in Far North Queensland.

Oppel's death was not investigated as being suspicious.

Following Ms Brookes' disappearance some time on the night of February 1 in 2012, Mr Goeden told her relatives and friends that she had fallen overboard off the Thai coast while he was below decks sleeping. When the relatives and friends demanded more detailed explanations for her presumed death and called for some sort of official investigation through the media, Mr Goeden cut off contact.

He has since kept a low profile staying mostly overseas in Malaysia.

But there is one area he has been active, expressing interest in Ms Brookes' assets, according to her brother Bill Heang, who has secondary power of attorney over her affairs.

This week, Mr Heang revealed just months before his sister went missing she had changed her will while in Malaysia and left nearly everything to Mr Goeden.

Late last year, Mr Goeden, who has the main power of attorney over her affairs, engaged lawyers to block a move by Mr Heang to try and freeze her assets until she is declared dead - a process which could take years.

"[Ms Brooke's] money is nothing to me and I never expected to get anything out of the estate because she would outlive me. But I want justice done. I want her death investigated,'' a distressed Mr Heang said last week.

"I wanted to tie up the estate till a death certificate was released and there had been an investigation. I don't want him getting the benefits of her estate and living off it.''

Fairfax Media tracked Mr Goeden down this week at the luxury resort where he works in Malaysia. The concerns raised by Mr Heang about Ms Brookes' disappearance and the assets were put to Mr Goeden. He declined to make any comment and asked that his privacy be respected. He has previously provided explanations of what happened on the night.

This week Queensland Police said they were not investigating because the incident occurred overseas.

A Foreign Affairs Department spokeswoman said DFAT did not have the power to investigate deaths overseas.

An Australian Federal Police spokesman said the matter had not been referred for investigation.

''The AFP is currently working with Queensland Police to review all available material regarding the disappearance of Ms Brookes to determine any available avenues for investigation,'' he said.

Do you know more? Email rcallinan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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