Tristan Frank travelled from the Nyirripi Community, Northern
Territory to Balgo Community, Tanami, Western Australia arriving on
1 December 2020. Whilst residing in the Community Tristan has left
his temporary residence and not been seen since 3 December 2020.
Tristan has not contacted family since and Police hold significant
concerns for his welfare.
Cross-border search for Tristan Frank, 14, who is missing in remote
A cross-border search for a 14-year-old missing from a remote
community in the East Kimberley has been scaled back.
Northern Territory boy Tristan Frank was reported missing near Balgo
community on December 3 and concerns have steadily risen for him as
the search stretched into its eighth day.
Authorities have carried out urban and land searches over thousands
of kilometres of desert and isolated tracks but there has been no
sign of him.
Inspector Peter Jenal said authorities had made the difficult
decision to suspend the search for the remainder of Friday as bad
weather came through, but local police and the community would
continue to look for Tristan.
"We will continue to search in the next few days, and if any further
information comes to light police will certainly act on that," he
"It's been quite daunting for our staff and we do appreciate the
work they've been doing out there."
A thunderstorm was expected to cross the East Kimberley late on
Friday and early Saturday, bringing with it flash flooding and winds
expected to reach up to 45 kilometres per hour.
Thousands of kilometres searched
Over the past week, police have gone door to door in the Balgo and
Billiluna communities, with officers from Halls Creek also joining
A search-and-rescue plane was sent from Canberra and tasked with
aerial surveillance on Tuesday evening and a drone operator from
Perth was monitoring the region.
State emergency services also helped efforts and Northern Territory
police put out a plea for information on its social media channels.
Balgo and Billiluna residents have joined local police on the job,
and Inspector Jenal said they would continue to help look for
Tristan even as the weather passed over.
He said police were extremely thankful for their ongoing help.
Tristan is described as 160 centimetres tall with a slight build,
dark brown hair and dark-coloured eyes.
Anyone with information about his whereabouts should immediately
contact police on 131 444.
Aboriginal 'spirit man' called in to try to find teenager Tristan
Frank missing in the outback
The teenager lives in a community across the Northern Territory
border but stopped off to stay with relatives in Balgo while his
grandparents travelled west to attend a funeral.
Senior Sergeant Charlie Moylan, who heads the Balgo police
station, says there have not been any sightings of him in the
six weeks since.
"WA Police have conducted an immediate, coordinated and planned
search," he said.
"No information has been received from outside community that
the missing boy has been sighted or believed to be in any other
Calling on higher power
In the absence of a breakthrough, several theories are
circulating in local communities.
Could young Tristan have hitched a ride to a small bush
outstation across the Northern Territory border?
Or perhaps he went for a walk and became disorientated in the
dizzying heat of the Tanami Desert.
The dominant belief is that Aboriginal spirits have taken him,
and are concealing him in the rolling sand dunes.
The case highlights the sensitive cultural environment in which
police and search agencies operating in northern Australia have
to comply with both government protocols and Indigenous cultural
practices when responding to critical incidents like death and
Similar issues were revealed in a series
of inquests held recently in northern WA, as well as in the
case of an Aboriginal elder whose remains were located in
mysterious circumstances almost a decade after his