Northern Territory police have today suspended the search for Victorian man
Daymon Ness, who went missing in the Katherine area last week.
The five-day search for Mr Ness included 28 people
His parents are currently in quarantine in Howard Springs
Police say the case is still open
Police say Mr Ness, 30, has not been seen since he went for a walk alone in
Nitmiluk National Park on Tuesday, October 20.
Authorities conducted ground, fixed and rotary wing, drones and water searches
of the Katherine area, but were not able to locate Mr Ness.
The search included some 28 people over five days, in hot and dangerous
Mr Ness's parents William and Elise Ness flew to Darwin after learning their son
was missing. They are currently in quarantine at Howard Springs.
They will not be able to leave the facility until Friday next week, but they say
they understand the need to protect vulnerable Territorians and are staying
strong, relying on each other and their faith.
"Selfishly I'd love to leave quarantine today and go down and pick up his stuff
and say goodbye but I also understand the concerns, particularly for Aboriginal
communities, and the need to take care of everyone," William Ness said.
"We just have to wait."
Ness family in quarantine
Police said Mr Ness had been travelling alone and arrived in Katherine from
Darwin by hire car on Monday October 19, the day before he went missing.
Mr Ness did not register with the national park office before setting off, and
William Ness speculated the 30-year-old had set out for a short stroll to take
some photos before the sunset.
On Wednesday, Mr Ness missed a Skype call with a friend. His family sounded the
alarm later that day after he did not turn up to pick up a canoe he rented.
"It wasn't until late [Wednesday] afternoon that the search was actually
launched so he'd already been out there one day," Ms Ness said.
William and Ms Ness said they were not happy with their son's decision to travel
on his own, but his plans to see Europe and Machu Picchu this year were
curtailed due to COVID-19.
"It was his last-ditch effort to have a holiday because he had the whole year
off," Ms Ness said.
"I should have made my thoughts more vigorously known. And a warning to any
parents: Make sure you know exactly where they are at all times … make sure they
check in with you and not their friends."
NTG on quarantine exemptions
Anyone arriving into the Northern Territory from or through a declared hotspot —
which currently includes the entire state of Victoria — must quarantine for 14
Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles confirmed Mr Ness's family had
applied for a quarantine exemption prior to their arrival and the application
had been denied.
"I'm aware of the case and they did apply to the Chief Health Officer [for a
quarantine exemption] but because they've come from a hotspot, he made a
decision that they did need to quarantine," she said.
"They have been liaising with other family members from a non-hotspot area to
try and support.
She said Mr Ness's parents would unfortunately be unable to visit the region
where their son is missing during the quarantine phase.
"But these decisions are all made based on clinical advice to keep us safe," she
Search over but case still open
Police are appealing to anyone who may have seen Mr Ness to contact them on 131
444, or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Police said they conducted an intensive search involving police, NTES, Parks and
Wildlife Commission and various helicopter companies.
That search involved an area that had been searched via air several times.
"We have had to make this decision to call off the search, however the case
remains open," Superintendent Daniel Shean said.
"We are still asking that if anyone knows or has seen anything that may lead us
to Mr Ness, to please come forward."
He is described as a Caucasian male, with a thin build, around 190 centimetres
tall, with dark brown hair, hazel eyes and was last seen wearing a black top,
green/grey pants and red shoes.
The Ness family thanked police, searchers and wildlife staff for their extensive
hunt through the park.
They said their thoughts were also with Mr Ness's friends and everyone who loved
"We are overwhelmed by the unselfish motivation of their heroic efforts,"
William Ness said.
And thinking of his son, William Ness said: "I just found this beautiful quote
from Dr Seuss: 'Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.'"
Case of missing Victorian Daymon Ness passed onto Criminal Investigation Branch
JUDITH AISTHORPE, NT News
THE investigation into the disappearance of Daymon Ness at Nitmiluk National
Park has been handed to the Criminal Investigation Branch, who will try to piece
together the 30-year-old’s movements.
Superintendent Daniel Shean told the NT News the
search and rescue was stopped on Monday after all avenues had been exhausted,
with management of the case now handed over to the Criminal Investigation
“They will make inquires and map out his last activities and actions leading up
the time that he went missing,” Superintendent Shean said.
He stressed it was “not a criminal investigation” but handed to the CIB as they
were best placed to carry on the investigation.
“There’s a number of avenues that we’ve got to investigate to satisfy that his
disappearance has resulted in death,” he said.
Mr Ness’s personal possessions and hire car, a silver Ford Falcon station wagon
with WA number plates, remain in the hands of detectives who are analysing the
“All of that stuff will be looked at to determine if there’s anything else that
will lead us to another avenue of inquiry,” Superintendent Shean said.
He said the search and rescue operation was extensive, with teams searching all
the tracks in the southern walks. It is believed Mr Ness walked the Baruwei
Loop, which is closed at the moment for upgrades.
NT Emergency Service volunteer Brett Martin was among those who dedicated their
time to help with the search.
Mr Martin said conditions were tough, with the heat from the sun and the rock
and the danger of crevices making the walk difficult.
“The difficulty we had up top the other day was the heat was getting into the
rocks and the retention is just quite incredible. There’s very rough deep
(crevices), you need to beware of snakes,” Mr Martin said.
“There are boulders 20-30 metres high and rock crevices everywhere. It’s
While making their way down to the shade, they also came across a man who had
scooted around the construction fence in an effort to do the walk.
He said people needed to be aware of the dangers of walking in the heat.
Superintendent Shean said people should be appropriately dressed, carry plenty
of water and consider taking an EPIRB.
He thanked police, NT Parks and Wildlife rangers and NT Emergency Service
volunteers for their efforts in working in tough terrain and hot conditions.
“The conditions out there were quite hot. Not only were you competing with the
heat from the sun but also the heat from the rocks, and also the terrain which
makes it quite dangerous for line searching,” he said.