Dimitrios Jim FITOS

Inquest finds missing fruit grower probably dead

Posted Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:41am AEDT - ABC

An inquest has found that a man missing from Mildura for more than 10 years is likely to be dead, but does not suggest how or where he died.

Fruit grower Dimitrios Jim Fitos was 49 years old when he was last seen in June 1998.

The father of two's disappearance sparked extensive land and air searches by police, but his body and the ute he was driving were never found.

Coroner Kim Parkinson said there was a hypothesis Mr Fitos might have driven his ute into the Murray River, but the water police's thermal scans covering 25 kilometres either side of Mildura last year did not find the car.

The coroner says she had considered the possibility of deliberate disappearance, but with no subsequent contact with close family and friends this was unlikely.

Ms Parkinson says it is a reasonable inference that Mr Fitos is dead.