A GRIFFITH man who disappeared without a trace 40 years ago was declared dead in the state coroner's court this week.
The investigation into the disappearance of Michael Kenneth Chandler (pictured) has been ongoing since he went missing on Thursday, March 8, 1973.
The father of seven was working on a rail gang near Goolgowi at the time but lived with his family in Griffith.
On the day he disappeared, the 32-year-old had gone to collect his pay, resigned from his job at the railway then went to buy takeaway dinner for his family.
He bought fish and chips and Chinese food and went to the Victoria Hotel for a beer.
He was never seen or heard from again.
A coronial inquest into Mr Chandler's disappearance was launched in Griffith in January this year and was continued at the NSW Coroner's Court but has left many questions unanswered.
In his findings, which were handed down on Wednesday, Deputy State Coroner Paul MacMahon proposed Mr Chandler had died on or after March 8, 1973, in or about NSW.
However, Magistrate MacMahon could not find evidence to determine the cause and manner of his death.
If he was alive today, Mr Chandler would be 72.
"While I am satisfied that on the balance of probabilities Michael is deceased, evidence available to make the other findings ... is not available," Magistrate MacMahon said.
"The evidence establishes that the last confirmed sighting of Michael was on March 8, 1973, in Griffith.
"He has not been seen by, nor made contact with, any of his family or acquaintances since that time."
When Mr Chandler's daughter Sally passed away in 1984, his family placed notices in all major newspapers hoping he would come forward.
He did not respond.
Nor did he respond when his father died and notices were placed in the newspapers.
Magistrate McMahon found Mr Chandler had a close relationship with his parents and siblings, and his own children.
"Even if for whatever reason Michael did decide to leave his wife, were he to have been alive during the past 40 years, he would more than likely (have) taken some action to contact his children, parents or siblings," he said.
Since he disappeared, Mr Chandler has not come to the attention of police in any Australian jurisdiction.
His drivers licence had expired, he had not left Australia, he had not claimed a pension or benefits, he had not operated a bank account, was not on the electoral roll and did not have a tax file number.
The coroner could not find an explanation why Mr Chandler would have resigned from his job and ordered his termination monies to be paid to his wife on the day he disappeared.
However, he said if Mr Chandler had wanted to start a new life, he would have had no money to do so.
Magistrate MacMahon said had Mr Chandler been alive, he would have had to assume a new identity and formally change his name, but had not done so.
If more evidence becomes available in future, the state coroner can reopen proceedings and additional or alternative findings can be made.