Witness claims he could identify the "shovel man" spotted in Mt Macedon last year.

An eerie encounter for a Gisborne man may hold the key to unlocking the mystery of Karen Ristevski’s death.

Late last year, the local was driving home from a party when he spotted a figure leaving the bush on a narrow dirt road on the outskirts of Mount Macedon, according to The Age reporter Aisha Dow.

He later reported the “expressionless” man in business attire was carrying a shovel.

“So where did you bury the body, mate?” the driver had joked.

Speaking to Seven News on Thursday evening, the witness added that he would be able to identify the “beanie-wearing man” if he saw him again.

Gary Salt told the reporter he saw the man’s face clearly, but he would not say if it was Ristevski’s husband, Borce Ristevski.

For months he shared his bizarre ‘shovel man’ story with among others in the community, and eventually with the police.

On Monday afternoon when a body, now identified as 47-year-old Ristevski, was found in the same area, the tale took on a new, frightening significance.

“A friend of mine said that he’d seen this man walking out of the bush carrying a shovel. It was close to midnight,” a local motel owner told The Age, describing the whole thing as “super creepy.”

“The guy walked straight into his lights and he put the window down and jokingly said  ‘where did you bury the body’?

“[He] didn’t say anything … just looked at him with a stone face.”

Homicide detectives are desperately trying to piece together what happened to the Avondale Heights mother who vanished on June 29 after arguing with her husband Borce Ristevski.

Meanwhile, a shovel found in the couple’s home has been seized by authorities for analysis, according to the Herald Sun.

A soil sample taken from the gardening tool was successfully matched with earth from the Gisborne-Mt Macedon area, however, police have declined to comment further on the clue.

What it’s like when a loved one goes missing. Loren O’Keeffe shares her story: