Maxwell Francis GEORGE
The Police search included the use of ground-penetrating radar technology and excavation equipment to comb a specific area of the property. Photo: Police Media
Maxwell George, aged 47, was last seen at his property in Brewarrina NSW on 17 March 2000. He has not been seen or been in contact with friends or family since.
If you have any information that may assist Police, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000
Dubbo man Gordon Tremain does not have a case to answer in relation to the disappearance of Maxwell George, despite police allegations he was responsible for Mr George’s death, an inquest has found.
Mr Tremain’s wife, Audrey, yesterday finished giving evidence during the final day of the week-long inquest held at Dubbo Coroner’s Court, but Mr Tremain himself did not take the stand.
Deputy State Coroner Paul MacMahon said the evidence presented to him this week suggested Mr and Mrs Tremain had taken advantage of their alleged business partner Maxwell George “in a financial sense” prior to his death.
Furthermore, he said the evidence suggested the Tremains “acted to take advantage” of Mr George after his death.
However, deputy State Coroner MacMahon said it was not for him to make any formal findings on the issue.
When handing down his findings, Deputy State Coroner MacMahon said Mr George was stranded at Mr Tremain’s property ‘Salvation’, near Brewarrina, when he went missing in March 2000.
The area experienced heavy rainfall at that time and the property was waterlogged, making it inaccessible to vehicles, the court heard.
The inquest also heard that Mr George, a paranoid schizophrenic, had missed one of his fortnightly injectable medications, which could have contributed to his death.
Mr Tremain drove to ‘Salvation’ on March 25 and reported Mr George missing to police the next day.
Mr MacMahon said Mr Tremain knew Mr George was stranded.
He found that Mr Tremain could have contacted the State Emergency Service (SES) to check on the then-48-year-old earlier, when the property experienced heavy rain.
However, he said there was no basis to suggest Mr Tremain’s failure to contact the SES was a “proximate cause” of his death.
The last known contact with Mr George was on March 17.
The coroner found that he died some time after that date.
“There is no evidence which physically ties the disappearance of Mr George to Mr Tremain,” deputy State Coroner MacMahon said.
“What caused his death? We do not know.
“There are a number of possibilities.”
He said it was possible Mr George experienced delusions when he was stranded at ‘Salvation’ and “did something that resulted in his death”.
Mr George was killed trying to walk out of the property, or had a work-related accident.
Mr and Mrs Tremain declined to comment yesterday after the coroner announced his findings.
Police have searched an isolated property north west of Brewarrina for the body of a man who went missing more than 12 years ago.
Maxwell Francis George was normally a resident of the Dubbo and Geurie areas. However at the time of his disappearance in March 2000, he was working as a caretaker at the 'Salvation' property 70 kilometres north-west of Brewarrina.
An initial investigation determined Mr George’s disappearance to be suspicious, but no arrest was made.
In 2012, the Western Region Unsolved Homicide Team received fresh information about the case from a member of the public via Crime Stoppers.
As a result, police launched Strike Force Roquette-2 to further investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr George’s disappearance.
Yesterday Unsolved Homicide detectives conducted an extensive search at
the property “Salvation”, assisted by the Forensic Services Group, Australian Federal Police and a NSW Police Cadaver Detection Dog Team.
The search included the use of ground-penetrating radar technology and excavation equipment to comb a specific area of the property.
Western Region Unsolved Homicide Team investigator, Detective Senior Constable Aaron Greenwood said police are appealing to any member of the public who may have knowledge concerning this case.
“In particular, we are urging members of the public who have phoned Crime Stoppers with the crucial information to make contact again.”
Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Roquette-2 detectives should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Detectives have begun excavating a property in north-western NSW after receiving an anonymous tip-off that a man who vanished from the area more than a decade ago is buried there.
Police are using ground-penetrating radar and a cadaver dog as they search for the body of Maxwell Francis George, who police say disappeared in suspicious circumstances in 2000 from the rural property about 70 kilometres north-west of Brewarrina.
Mr George, 48, was normally a resident of the Geurie and Dubbo areas, but at the time of his disappearance he had been working as a caretaker at a property called Salvation.
At the time of his disappearance, there had been heavy rainfall in the area, and Salvation was waterlogged and inaccessible to vehicles.
Mr George, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, had missed one of his fortnightly doses of medication, an inquest into his death in 2008 heard.
However detectives told the inquest that police believed Mr George was either murdered or left to perish on the property.
Now, police have returned to that property to search for his body, more than 12 years after he was reported missing in March 2000.
Detective Sergeant Jason Darcy, from the Western Region Unsolved Homicide Team, said someone had called Crime Stoppers recently with information "about a possible location of where Max George was buried".
As a result of that information, police had applied for a coronial order to return to Salvation and excavate a specific site there.
Detective Sergeant Darcy said the Australian Federal Police had supplied ground-penetrating radar to search the property, and a cadaver dog also was being used at the site.
"On March 29 , the owner of that property reported Max missing," Detective Sergeant Darcy said.
"Since that time, there have been numerous inquiries conducted by local police, detectives from the homicide squad, and we've been unable to locate Max."
The inquest heard that Mr George suffered from paranoid schizophrenia but had been on medication which, when taken in the right dosage, would keep him relatively stable.
However the court heard he had missed one of his injectable medications, which could have contributed to his death.
The officer in charge of the investigation at the time, Detective Senior Constable Peter Freer, told the inquest that police had a potential suspect in mind. No charges have ever been laid over Mr George's disappearance, and his body has never been found.
“It is my belief that Maxwell George was either murdered on the property Salvation, or was left at the property Salvation to perish,” Detective Senior Constable Freer said at the time.
Detective Sergeant Darcy appealed for the anonymous caller to Crime Stoppers to contact police again.
"We want to make a public appeal to any persons who have knowledge of Max George's whereabouts [to come forward]," he said.
"We'd also like to make an appeal to that person who contacted Crime Stoppers with that specific information on the location of Max to contact police again, either via Crime Stoppers or via their local police station or contact directly the Unsolved Homicide Team."
Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.