Frank Puglia, as drummer in Highly Strung.

Two Bodies. The Real Story

Two bodies. One. Grisly discovery. Brisbane’s Iso slaying. 

If ever the way we are able to so swiftly ‘de-humanise’ someone’s life, this week’s murder of a couple, north of Brisbane, was a telling example.

Sledgehammer murder. Couple slain. House cordoned off.

Those brutal words, in headlines and broadcasts the nation over, obscure the the two people they belong to: Frankie and Loris Puglia.

And ask anyone who knows them, they were so much more than the circumstances of their deaths.

They were a mum and a dad. A son and a daughter. A brother. A sister-in-law. A co-worker. A drummer. A fundraiser. A friend.

But the way that is dismissed, so arbitrarily, in the manner of their deaths is cruel; tortuous even to those who knew them.

As a journalist, I’ve done it a million times. This week, I saw it from the other side, and in describing, so brutally their death, we dismiss who they were in life.

This week Loris Puglia would have turned 60.

Frankie would have been playing the drums with his band Highly Strung, a group of ageing Brisbane dads who still think they can make it into the big time.

Loris would have been fund-raising for pancreatic cancer research, because it had meant something very personal to both of them. 

Indeed, that was her birthday request: that her friends find a dollar or two for the Pancare Foundation.

That’s what sits, invisible, behind the quick news reports, that now move on with the speed of life.

That means people might not know that Loris and Frankie had the sort of relationship we should all want. 

Loris was always in the audience when Frankie sat behind the drums. And she was always armed with a camera.

My husband is in the same band, and jokes that when everyone saw Loris’ photographs one thing was a constant: everyone else was framed around Frankie, who sat centre of frame.

One of Frankie and Loris’ sons used their same close relationship in his birthday message to his mum this week.

“Happy 60th birthday Mum,’’ he wrote. “Both you and dad are able to Rest In Peace at the same age.’’

Frankie and Loris had their birthdays only 17 days apart. “There was something that Mum loved about that.’’

This is the picture behind those two bodies, the world heard about.

“Both mum and Dad were beautiful people. They were parents to all my friends and would always be so welcoming. This is a loss for a lot of us.’’

Loris Puglia also had a “spiritual’’ side, he reminded everyone reading his post. But it was their togetherness that shone.

“Dad may not have been as spiritual but dad would always support and follow Mum no matter what spiritual ideas Mum had! I love you both so much.’’

His plea should be our own. “I want everyone to just be respectful and to remember what great people my parents were.’’

They were the heart and soul of their local community and led by example, through hard work and loyalty.

“We are so sad to see you go and we miss everything that made you, you,’’ their son wrote.

So do so many others, not least that group of rockers who joined Frankie each week to belt out some tunes, and plan their next gig.

Photograph of Madonna King

Madonna King is a leading journalist and commentator. An award-winning presenter of 612 ABC Brisbane, she has authored 12 books and now works across radio, television and online.

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