James (Jamie) Leo HOWE

    Sex: Male
Date of Birth: 1958 Age in 2007: 49
At time of disappearance -          
Age: 29 Height (cm): 180.0 Build: Medium
Hair Colour: Fair Eye Colour: Green/Hazel Complexion: Fair
Nationality: Australian Racial Appearance: Caucasian    
Circumstances - James was last seen at 4:30pm on the 27 March 1987 when he was dropped off by a work mate at Ashfield to catch a bus home. He has not been sighted or heard from since that time. It is totally out of character for him to go missing as he always informs family and friends of his whereabouts. There are fears for his safety. He left behind all his belongings and clothing including his glasses.

This update comes from Jamie's sister Judy -

 

My brother, James Leo Howe (Jamie) has been missing for over 25 years.  He disappeared without a trace in 1987 leaving all his clothes and belongings behind, including his glasses. My father kept in regular contact with the police from the date of Jamie's disappearance until my father's death in 1990.  During this period we were led to believe that the police were diligently carrying out investigations but had yet to uncover any leads.

An Inquest into Jamie's disappearance was held on 17th August 2009.  I looked forward to the Inquest, hoping that I would gain an insight into Jamie's disappearance when the police files were opened and the details of their investigations revealed. I was very disappointed to find out that there was no investigation into Jamie's disappearance in 1987.  Apart from talking to my father, the police officers had not interviewed any of Jamie's family members, friends, work colleagues, his hockey team mates or to the Salvation Army who had previously placed Jamie on their missing person's register.  There was nothing on Jamie's file.

The only investigations into Jamie's disappearance were conducted in 2008 and 2009, some 21 years after  the fact. These investigations were very superficial.  Detective Senior Constable Pia O'Donohue interviewed four family members for approximately one  hour each.  She did not contact any one else that knew Jamie. 

In her submission to the Coroner, Detective Senior Constable Pia O'Donohue advised that, based on recent enquiries with several family members in 2009, there was no evidence that Jamie had met with foul play or that he had been suicidal; there was no evidence of mental illness or of any medications; and there was no evidence of grudges held by anyone against Jamie.  In fact, she was unable to present any evidence that Jamie had died. A buccal swab was taken from my sister in 2008 and a search of unidentified bodies was conducted with no exact matches. There was a slight chance of a match with one body but no DNA was able to be extracted at that time. A search of Commonwealth databases was conducted in 2008 with nil result. There was evidence that Jamie was in some financial debt at the time of his disappearance and that he had withdrawn his final $50 on the day he disappeared. She was unable to establish whether or not his debts weighed heavily on his
 mind.

Detective Senior Constable Pia O'Donohue stated "I have no evidence to suggest that James Howe was suicidal however his debt may have been overwhelming and the financial stress may have been too much.  He withdrew his last $50 just prior to disappearing which may hint that he may be using his last funds before committing suicide."   This is pure speculation but the Coroner presumed that Jamie had died, the likely cause being suicide, and closed the case.  Another finding such as: presumed dead, cause unknown may have resulted in the case remaining open.