The boyfriend of missing mother Ju "Kelly" Zhang has been charged with her murder.

Joon Leong Tan, 35, was on Thursday night charged with one count of murder after he was arrested for the second time in four days.

He will face Melbourne Magistrates' Court today.

Mr Tan was detained at Melbourne Airport on Wednesday night as he prepared to fly interstate amid an intensifying missing-persons squad investigation.

It is not known whether the Malay national's travel plans had extended further.

Mr Tan, a plasterer from Doncaster, was also arrested on Sunday after police ­publicly said he had been actively avoiding them.

He was later released without charge after hours of questioning.

While he was being held at crime command headquarters ­on Friday, police were ­searching an area around a creek at Ivanhoe.

They did not find any trace of the 33-year-old Ms Zhang, who has from the earliest stages of the inquiry been feared to have been murdered.

Joon Seong Tan.
Joon Seong Tan.

 

The boyfriend of missing Epping mum Ju Zhang (pictured) has been arrested at Melbourne Airport.
The boyfriend of missing Epping mum Ju Zhang (pictured) has been arrested at Melbourne Airport.

The search by detectives and search-and-rescue squad ­officers centred on thick bush around the Darebin Creek Reserve.

It covered several kilometres, part of it focused on a steep embankment near Seddon Reserve.

Mr Tan previously told police Ms Zhang left her eight-year-old son at her Winchester Avenue, Epping, home to go for a walk while barefoot and dressed in pink pyjamas about 5.30pm on February 1.

She has not been seen since.

Early in the investigation Mr Tan's version of events was described by police as "highly ­unlikely" .

­Police believe he could have been in his car about the time of her disappearance.

Police believe Mr Tan's black 2008 Mazda CX9 ­station wagon, registration WKE 850, and the white ­Toyota LandCruiser of Ms Zhang were driven through Epping and Doncaster between 4pm on February 1 and 8am the next day. The movements of the ­vehicles during that 16-hour period is considered ­crucial for police investigations.

Anyone with information should contact Crime ­Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit the website and make a report at ­crimestoppersvic.com.au.

mark.buttler@news.com.au

*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.  

Originally published as Boyfriend of missing mum charged with her murder

Missing Epping woman Ju Zhang.
Missing Epping woman Ju Zhang.

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