News, Events, Bits and Pieces..........                    


QLD Police Missing Persons statistics 2010/2011



Friday, 18 March 2011 7:38pm

SA Police Facebook page get results


A follower of The SA Police News Facebook page has provided valuable information to the police that has lead to finding a missing woman. 

Last night, police were searching the Norwood area for a woman missing from a nursing home for nearly 10 hours. 

After releasing the information on the SA Police News Facebook page, a Facebook follower having seen the release, found the woman’s red walker at St Peter’s and called police. 

Patrols then concentrated the search for the woman in the St Peter’s area and a short time later, she was found safe and well by a member of the public. 

 The release of the description of the missing woman on Facebook and the valuable information provided by the public, were instrumental in finding the woman safe and well. 

The SA Police News Facebook page which is regularly updated with all the latest police information, now has over 6,700 followers since launched on February 16 this year.

February 8th 2010 -

I feel I need to write something about the 1 year anniversary of the Black Saturday fires. I think it would be good for me to try and put it into words; I didn't think I had any tears left after last year but still they come.

It doesn't feel like a year to me, because it hasn't been. As recently as a week or so ago I was adjusting an error on the photo tribute page that someone pointed out to me, and some of the families I met during that time have kept in regular contact with me. Roma, who was a tower of strength at that time, rang me on Christmas Day and I got a text from Lachlan just a few weeks ago too. Another lady who lost her brother talks to me every couple of months. It's hard to let go, and why should we? I have not put this behind me, because I can't. If you are a regular reader of this site you will know what I did this time last year, if you are new then let me try and explain.

The first e mail came on the Saturday night. A lady could not find her teenage daughter and she was most insistent that it was urgent, because she had been travelling to Wandong, a place I had never heard of. I looked it up and it was in country Victoria and I assumed it might be near where I had heard on the news they'd had a bit of a bushfire. We just didn't know at that time what had happened.

From that first e mail, they started to slowly but surely trickle in then build up speed. I realised I had to start a page on the website for those searching for people missing after the fire, and from then on it became massive. I was online at 6am and I listed literally thousands of requests for information. I worked sometimes until 1am, and I was able to start a second page listing those who were safe. The truly gut wrenching thing was when the same names kept coming up again and again from people looking for loved ones and you realised they were gone, that a point came where if that person was able to contact their sister or mum or husband, that they would have. And I kept typing those names over and over in the desperate hope that someone would say yes, I am here at a church hall in Whittlesea with them, they are safe. But they usually didn't. In the days that followed, which became a bit of a blur, the death toll was mentioned at a tragic 50 and I told people it was absolutely going to go much, much higher as I had so many missing.

It went on for months. I remember going to the movies with friends a couple of weeks later, the first time I had left the house in days. In the car on the way I got a call from the family of a lady still missing and I was answering some questions about identifying burned remains, and I didn't realise until I looked up and saw the expressions of horror on the faces of my friends as they listened to my side of the call what a strange life I lead, how surreal.

I got to know these people without ever having met them, and there were chuckles despite the horror. I learned about that woman who was having an affair with that bloke and so she might have been at his house when the fire started, and I made one lady laugh when I said the Mountain was worse than Days of Our Lives. There was one bloke who survived the fire only to learn his girlfriend had left him, and he became suicidal. Those who lost so many animals, those who died themselves trying to get horses and dogs out. So many times I heard "She wouldn't have left the horses" and she didn't, she died with them. The family who got their beloved huskies into the dog trailer but the fire got them all in the driveway. The lovely shy lady who loved her English china so much, they found the box of plates in the front seat of the car and there she was, she died there too. The lady who I will never forget, looking for her elderly Mum, we didn't know for sure what had happened for a long time, she was with her little dog in the end, I think I asked a policeman who had been up walking the streets checking the houses for the dead and he confirmed how many had died on that road. She never made it to the oval, we don't know why, she should have left early, she was going to.....I had a call from a man whose teenage son lived with his Mum right in the fire zone. They had not been able to contact any of them. I made so many phone calls, rang so many people and then as I was ringing the last number I had been given a voice answered and it was him, the son - he was fine. I think I burst into tears and he was a little bewildered why this strange woman not only had his mobile number but was crying on the phone to him, but eventually he understood and then told me his story about how he almost didn't make it, how he and his teenage mates managed to save his mum's house. I had messages that Macka, Thommo, Westie and Bull were safe and well and I had to find out who they actually were :) People would ask if "the little old coffee shop had burned down", and I could usually find someone to answer the questions.

I took many calls from Police trying to locate people and I was able to give them contact numbers of people who could confirm they were safe. I work with Police all the time but this was different, what they went through and saw in those days will haunt them forever and I hope they are able to talk about it when they need to. The Police and Firies are the absolute heroes of this story, along with every brave person who saved a life or fought to.

I was able to make some great phone calls, to the UK, New Zealand, USA, letting people know their aunties and uncles and daughters and friends were safe. I also had to make some agonising decisions about something that was none of my business......when I know that someone has died, because their friend or relative has told me and I have someone else asking about that person, do I tell them? Or do I force the survivors and families to have to tell yet another person about the death? Do I do it? So I did it, too many times to count, and it ripped me apart. But every single time those people were grateful, and thanked me, for not making them wait a second longer to know. I was able to put some friends in touch with other friends of those deceased, so they could grieve together and exchange memories, and information about funerals. I was contacted at one point by a man's workplace wanting to know what to do with all his belongings...I was able to find a relative for them also.

I got to know some incredible people who will stay in my heart forever. Roma, who loves Kinglake so deeply, lost her close friend but threw herself into the effort to find people and whenever I was stumped, she found the answer. Wendy, worked with me for hours and hours on the list of those lost, she was incredible as we ploughed through that horrific task. It was very important to her to get all the details right about who it was and where they died, and she was fantastic. Monique was also able to answer so many questions for me and we were a support for one another for many months. Davina, with an extra special request. Karen, you were fantastic also in answering so many of my questions and you made life bearable for me for many days :)   Jannene, who was looking for a missing family with I think about 4 kids, we were so scared for a long time they didn't make it but they were found safe. I just looked back on her e mail and she said "If the news is bad, are you in a position to let us know? Because we know where they lived and we know they were in direct line of the fire and that they only had one way out, which also put them in direct line of the flames" I said yes, I would let them know, even if the news was bad.

So many others, I remember you all and all your wonderful help - THANK YOU.

John Wilson and his wife Rosalie made it out of Marysville but lost their home. My first message from John was dated the 9th, and from that time on we worked constantly making extensive lists of those missing, located and deceased from Marysville. After he had recovered a bit we were joined by Marysville doctor Lachlan Fraser, who had fled his burning home to Marysville oval, stopping on the way down to help people and then spending all night tending the wounded despite being injured himself. John's spreadsheet of the victims changed constantly as we found more people, added people, removed people who were not in town that day and eventually the Police, Red Cross and the media were using the data. We managed to track down people with as little information as "Carol from the post office", or "The lady with the hat who walks her dog round the golf course" and "that lovely Asian lady who lives up that road". 

I have 1093 e mails saved in my folders about the bushfires. The website at that time had so many hits it came within a whisker of crashing, I think it was about 80,000 visitors a day. It has gone on all year, with people still unable to find those who became homeless and moved, those who just want to talk about it, sometimes those giving me one more tragic name to add to the list of those lost, or to give me a new photo, or to make a correction to something the media got wrong. Via Facebook I have connected with many more, and united it seems easier somehow.

It has not been a year since it happened, for me it continues to happen, it's here all the time. It's helped to write this out, because I have been carrying it around with me like a lead weight, a stone in my heart that I have tried to ignore. But it's time to take the stone out and lay it down, something that won't go away but should not be ignored. Instead, we honour those fallen, those who fought, those who continue to fight and those who live on.

A wet journalist's chance encounter in outback

By ABC Alice Springs reporter Eric Tlozek

Posted Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:47am AEDT

I can't remember how many missing person stories I've covered since I began reporting in the Northern Territory in 2003. Many end in tragedy.

I've written about wandering tourists, lost hikers, wayward pensioners and those overwhelmed by the central Australian heat or trapped by floods.

But until last week, I'd never stumbled across a missing person while wading through a waterhole in my underpants.

Luckily for lost Alice Springs man Ashley Law, I had just pulled my pants back on when he saw me walking at the back of a nature reserve near Alice Springs.

Considering he had spent two days wandering in the heat and I was the first person he had seen, the sight of me in my underpants may have been too much to bear.

I had come out to take photos of the search for him and was hoping to find some officers on motorbikes. Instead, I found Ashley.

Ashley was dehydrated, sunburnt but otherwise fine.

He told me he had been wandering around since an all-night drinking session in the back of a mate's ute.

He thinks he was "dropped off" somewhere in the bush by his mate but was too drunk to figure out where he was and walk the right way.

He even said it wasn't the first time he had got drunk and wandered off into the scrub.

This session, Ashley told me, must have been particularly savage as he had lost his special knife, which had hitherto stayed with him through 16 years of drunken bush expeditions.

As we were talking, I heard the sound of a helicopter and I rushed out to an open area near the creek and waved to it.

It was carrying police officers searching for Ashley.

Officers on motorbikes had found his cigarettes and special knife in the scrub and the search parties were heading towards the nature park.

They landed, took our details and scolded Ashley for not staying in one spot.

Ashley's friend had become bogged driving back in to town and had eventually called for a tow truck.

No-one had known Ashley was in trouble until he rang police on Thursday, lost, hot and presumably nursing a killer hangover.

As for me, I had to strip back down to cross the waterhole and get my recording gear and some water for Ashley.

Before too long he was bundled into the helicopter and flown back to Alice Springs, leaving behind some bemused police officers and a wet journalist.

Some unfortunate tourists walking in to see the waterhole instead saw a stripped-down reporter wading across the waist-deep water, pants in one hand, recording gear and camera in the other, rushing to file for the noon news bulletin.

All in a day's work in Alice Springs.


DNA Profiling in Criminal Investigations fast-tracked, targeted 'cold cases' to be reviewed using cutting-edge technology

2009-06-02 09:44:13


The analysis of DNA in criminal investigations will be dramatically expedited and unsolved criminal cases will be reviewed using cutting-edge testing technology.
NSW Police Force has purchased and supported the validation of six new Tecan robots at an estimated cost of $3 million to automate the handling of crime scene samples and significantly boost its DNA testing capacity and output.
The robots have been installed at NSW Health's Division of Analytical Laboratories (DAL) at Lidcombe and are expected to be fully operational by the end of this month.
The high-tech equipment will speed up the analysis of DNA for current criminal investigations and help reduce a backlog of testing.
"This revolutionary technology will allow us to process multiple liquid samples simultaneously," Acting Forensic Services Group Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Mark Sweeney, said.
"The robots will be able to analyse up to 96 liquid samples at any one time compared to 24 under manual testing. This will accelerate the DNA profiling process up to threefold with the same staff numbers" he said.
It's expected the automation of testing will not only increase capacity but also reduce the risk of the contamination of samples and human error.
"Routine DNA analysis will be managed through the robots thereby significantly increasing capacity and output while minimising the risk of contamination and mistakes being made," Acting Assistant Commissioner Sweeney said.
"DNA samples will be tested by the robots using validated liquid handling protocols and tracked via barcodes and the fully integrated Laboratory Information management System throughout the testing process," he said.
Forensic Services Group's highly-skilled personnel play an integral role in the investigation of criminal offences in New South Wales.
"Every year, FSG identifies more than 10,000 people through traces of evidence found at crime scenes," he said. "Many of those people provide vital leads for police investigations, allowing a large number of investigations to be satisfactorily resolved."
"This new technology will not only be of assistance in working through a backlog of DNA tests but also be crucial in the review of serious unsolved crimes, including homicide cold cases, from up to 20 years ago," Acting Assistant Commissioner Sweeney said.

Court told boy won't testify against father

Posted Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:28pm AEST - ABC

A court has been told it is unclear whether a trial will proceed against an Adelaide man who is accused of faking his 10-year-old son's disappearance.

Brett Anthony Taylor, 49, is charged with creating a false belief.

But police prosecutor Alan Urie told Port Adelaide Magistrates Court a trial could not proceed because the son is reluctant to testify against his father.

It has been alleged the Port Adelaide man staged his son's disappearance which led to a two-day police search last August, costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

The court has heard previously that police found the boy in a cupboard of a house at Sturt in Adelaide after intercepting a telephone call his father made to the property.

The case has been adjourned until June so the prosecution can consider whether the boy should been made to give evidence.


There's a fantastic Aussie company called ID FOR ME.

 If you're a parent you'll know that horrible, stomach-gripping fear you get when you lose sight of your child in a shopping centre, Easter show, theme park, outdoor event, anywhere there's lots of people? And have you tried the old trick of writing your number on their arm, only for it to get smudged, worn off or wet and become unreadable? The answer is an ID FOR ME temporary tattoo which is printed with your phone number plus important medical information if required. They come in a huge range of fun designs for various age groups and your children will love wearing them. They don't come off when wet and don't rub off. They work out to be just 75 cents each - would you spend 75 cents to keep your child safe?

Developed by parents with Policing experience!

Dead woman's missing daughter found

19:30 AEST Thu May 28 2009 - Nine News

A missing 13-year-old girl whose mother's body was discovered three weeks after her suspicious death has been found safe and well.

Police on Thursday confirmed the identity of 42-year-old Deidre Burton, found dead at a townhouse in Mount Druitt, in Sydney's west, about 5.30pm (AEST) on Tuesday.

A relative concerned about the welfare of Ms Burton and her daughter had raised the alarm.

Detectives were unable to locate the teenager on Tuesday, but found her on Thursday after a member of the public contacted police.

"A 13-year-old girl, believed to be an occupant of the home, was today located safe well after concerns were yesterday raised by detectives for her welfare," police said in a statement.

"For investigative reasons and for her welfare, police are not able to reveal that location."

Her mother could have been dead up to three weeks and her death was being treated as suspicious, police have said.

Neighbours said Ms Burton had worked as a security guard at local shopping centres.

Management of a shopping centre where she was contracted said a new company provided its security services and Ms Burton had not worked there for at least four weeks.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said Ms Burton and her daughter lived alone in the townhouse and mainly kept to themselves, although they were "friendly to say hello to".

Police have urged anyone with information to contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


  Police officer injured - Ballina

2009-05-13 05:09:27

A NSW police officer has been injured during a search for a missing person in the state's North overnight.
About 5.40pm on Tuesday 12 May the 38-year-old female constable, attached to Ballina Police Station was at the Skinners Head headland near Ballina with two other officers making inquiries into a missing person report.
While the two other officers were speaking to a number of people at the location the constable made a brief search at the base of the cliff.
\nAs she climbed a section of the cliff face a rock she was using for support gave way and the officer tumbled approximately ten metres to the ground.
She suffered a suspected fractured right leg and cuts to her forehead in the fall and lost consciousness a number of times. She was treated at the scene before being airlifted to Lismore Base Hospital for further treatment.
She is currently in a stable condition.

Triple-O operators admit failings over David Iredale

Article from: The Daily Telegraph

By Gemma Jones

April 23, 2009 12:00am

THE harrowing final words of teenager David Iredale - recorded as he lay dehydrated, desperate and close to death - were revealed in full for the first time yesterday.

Transcripts of the lost bushwalker's repeated pleas for help to three triple-0 operators were released as those same women admitted a string of critical blunders.

Stacey Dickens, Renee Waters and Laura Meade either failed to listen to David properly or failed to follow protocol. He made five calls, some of which were not even logged properly.

And it emerged Ms Dickens, who admitted her mind was elsewhere as the Sydney Grammar student pleaded for help, was reprimanded only last Tuesday about her lack of compassion - two years after he died.

Stacey Dickens - who spoke over the top of David as he kept repeating his location - and her colleagues yesterday faced the Penrith inquest into the 17-year-old's death during a Blue Mountains bushwalk on December 11, 2006.

She said it was not until the third page of a transcript of her call with David she realised he was lost in the bush, even though he had told her: "It's in the bush . . . I am near the Kedumba river," within seconds of the conversation beginning.

When asked by counsel assisting the coroner Jeremy Gormley if it sounded like her mind was not on the job, Ms Dickens agreed.

It was then put to her that she was failing to absorb what David was telling her and Ms Dickens replied to the court: "Yes."

When David kept apologising to her she retorted: "Don't keep saying that, tell me where you are."

Ms Dickens agreed when Mr Gormley said to her: "Do you agree that is not a very proper response for a triple-0 operator?"

Ms Dickens was "counselled" last week by Superintendent Peter Payne and said she realised her triple-O manner was inappropriate.

Ms Meade, 26, a former NIDA drama student, repeatedly asked David for a street address before saying: "OK. So you've just wandered into the middle of nowhere, is that what you are saying?"

When asked if she was intending to be sarcastic, she said she was only trying to elicit an address because the computer system was so rigid she believed she needed it before asking for other information.

It meant she never dispatched an ambulance and failed to enter his calls properly into the system, for which she apologised yesterday.

"I certainly could have done a better job," she said.

Ms Waters - who tried to reassure David that emergency services were trying to help him - wept as she remembered the phone call she took from him and the subsequent search by police.

The inquest continues.

THIS is a transcript of the increasingly desperate Triple-0 calls made by David Iredale while lost in the Blue Mountains bush on December 11, 2006


Time: 11:59:42

Duration: 1 min, 41 sec

LM: Ambulance emergency. What suburb please?

DI: Hi, this is an emergency

(Operator cuts over David)

LM: What suburb?

DI: Katoomba

LM: What was the address in Katoomba?

DI: Um, I have been walking the Mt Solitary

(Operator cuts over David)

LM: What's the address in Katoomba?

DI: Yep, I have been walking the Mt Solitary track and I am near the Kedumba River and yeah, that's all I know

LM: It's Mt Solitary is it?

DI: Yes

LM: Do you know where you are?

DI: No

DI: I can't walk far at all

LM: Oh. What was the street you started out walking from?

DI: No idea

LM: OK. So you've just wandered into the middle of nowhere, is that what you're saying?

DI: I don't have a map

LM: You need to tell me where to send the ambulance

DI: (Inaudible)

LM: Listen. Listen. Listen. The Mt Solitary walking track may not be on a map. You need to tell me what the nearest street

you know that you've gone past is

DI: Look, I'm about to faint

LM: OK darling, you need to tell me where you are, so we know where to send the ambulance

(Call drops out)



Time: 12:06:25

Duration: 10 seconds

SD: Ambulance

DI: This is an emergency, emergency


SD: What's the address?

DI: Katoomba

(Call drops out)



Time: 12:07:55

Duration: 40 seconds

LM: Ambulance emergency. What suburb please?

DI: I'm lost, I need water, I haven't had water for a long period of time (yelling)

(Operator cuts over)

LM: Sir, do you need an ambulance there?

DI: Yes

LM: Then what suburb are you in?

DI: I'm in Katoomba

(Operator cuts over)

LM: Where in Katoomba are you Sir?

DI: I'm not in Katoomba actually. The Mt Solitary walk. I'm going down to the Kedumba River on that walk

(Ms Meade keeps asking for a street.

Line eventually drops out)



Time: 12:10:08

Duration: 5 min, 1 sec

RW: Ambulance emergency. What suburb please?

DI: Hello

RW: Where?

DI: Hello

RW: Hello

DI: I need an ambulance

RW: Where are you Sir?

DI: I set out from a hike at Katoomba and went to Mt Solitary hike

RW: OK, you're at Katoomba?

DI: Yes

RW: OK, whereabouts in Katoomba are you?

DI: I'm not in Katoomba, I've walked from Katoomba

RW: OK, so where are you then?

DI: I went to the Mt Solitary, Mt Solitary walking track and I'm going to the

Kedumba River (yelling)

RW: OK, so you're on the Mt, Mt, um, Solitary track

DI: Yes

RW: Are you going to where?

DI: I'm on the slope going down to the Mt, to the sorry, sorry cancel. I'm on the slope going down to the Kedumba River


RW: Kedumba River?

DI: Yes

RW: OK, Ked, Kedumba River. You're on the track, on a road track are you sir?

DI: No, it's bush bash, I may not exactly be on the track (yelling)

RW: OK so you're not exactly on the track. So you're in a car then are you?

DI: No, its bush, trees everywhere. Lying

down. Fainted (yelling)

RW: You're lying down and you fainted?

DI: Yes

RW: OK, so when you left where did you start at? (David describes having walked for two days)

DI: I went on the Federal pass walking track

RW: You started on the Federal path walking track?

DI: Yes

RW: Federal path or pass?

DI: Pass, as in the pass the lemonade or something

RW: Oh, Federal P A S S

DI: Yes

RW: Alright, we're trying to find out Sir. We're just trying to find out where we can find you

DI: Wait, sorry, wait. There are two other people where, I don't where they are

RW: OK so you can see two other people can you?

DI: No I can't see them, I can't hear them, but they are there

RW: Ok, now if you can't see them or hear them but you know that they're there how do you know they're there?

DI: Because they were with me

RW: They left you did they?

DI: We got separated, I don't know how

RW: OK. You got separated. Sir, there's actually no need to yell, alright? Can you calm down, we are trying to find you. So what happened, Sir?

DI: I just fainted

RW: You fainted and they left you there?

DI: They didn't, I fainted where I couldn't see them

RW: OK, you fainted where they couldn't see you and they just left you there. They didn't try looking for you?

(Ms Waters asks David questions about what direction he was facing)

DI: I don't know, I can't see properly

(The call goes on for several more minutes, David is heard heavy breathing, but continues to try to describe his location near the Kedumba River. The call cuts out)



Time: 12:27:59

Duration: 3 min, 58 sec

SD: Ambulance

DI: Hi

SD: You're through to the ambulance

DI: Hi

SD: Do you want an ambulance?

DI: Yes

SD: To what address?

DI: Actually, it's probably, it's in the bush

SD: Whereabouts?

DI: Katoomba. I called there about an hour, 45 minutes ago and then I fainted

(inaudible). I am near the Kedumba river.

I was going down to it on the Mt Solitary track

SD: Just hang on for a minute

(On hold for 28 seconds. Ms Dickens returns and again asks him where he is before telling David to hang on again and then places him on hold for another 24 seconds)

SD: Now what street are we coming in


DI: Hello? Hello?

SD: What street are we coming in off?

DI: Sorry?

SD: Tell me where you are?

DI: Sorry?

SD: Don't keep saying that, tell me where you are

DI: (Heavy breathing) I'm facing the Kedumba River. I came through, oh, the mountain in the middle of the valley that the Three Sisters are on

SD: And what track was that? Tell me where you are

DI: Sorry?

SD: What track is it?

DI: I can't remember. Oh, I don't have a map (groans and heavy breathing). I've been out here for an hour

SD: (Pauses for 7 seconds)

DI: Hello?

SD: I need to know exactly where you are (Call goes on like this for several minutes before David is heard breathing heavily and then the line cuts out)

Vonne McGlynn family back daily call system

THE family of Reynella pensioner Vonne McGlynn, whose body was found dumped in Christies Downs, has backed police calls for elderly and isolated residents to sign up to a daily phone service.

Mrs McGlynn’s brother Tony Smallwood told the Southern Times Messenger elderly residents who lived on their own would be ``mad’’ not to sign up to the service.

Angelika Gavare, 34, of Christie Downs, appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court yesterday, charged with the Reynella pensioner’s murder.
Police have credited the daily welfare monitoring service for yesterday’s arrest.

Mr Smallgood said he signed his sister up ``several years ago’’ because he was worried about her safety after she suffered several strokes and other health

``It was as much for me as it was for her because she was getting on in years and had a habit of going on bus tours and not letting anyone know,’’ he said.

``Of course I’d have no idea where she was and wonder whether she’d had a heart attack or what was going on I’d get very very upset.’’

He feared if it wasn’t for the volunteer’s phone call no one would have noticed her missing until much later.

``It would’ve been at least a few days or when the rubbish bin didn’t go out or the letterbox became overstuffed.’’

Yesterday police echoed the call for the elderly and isolated to sign up to Telecross following inquiries by the Southern Times Messenger into the service’s role
in the investigation.

Major Crime Detective Superintendent John Venditto said the Telecross played a key role.

``The system works and we are here today because of that,’’ he said.

``If anyone is in doubt whether they should join up, my advice is to do it.”

Red Cross SA executive director Kerry Symons said Mrs McGlynn’s case highlighted how important an ``early detection system’’ such as Telecross was for isolated residents to let people know when they’re in ``strife’’.

``It’s such a practical service and it’s a person talking to a person which is quite unique,’’ she said.

``It’s a beautiful relationship, we ring every day of the year even Christmas Day - for some that might be the only phone call they they get on Christmas so it’s
very special.’’

To sign up to Telecross for a daily welfare call or to become a volunteer call 1800-4500.

Ambulance service apologises to Iredales

19:30 AEST Tue Apr 14 2009
By ninemsn staff

The NSW Ambulance Service has given a formal apology to the family of a boy who died after getting lost in the bush, admitting they failed to deal adequately with a series of desperate phone calls from the dying teen.

David Iredale became separated from school friends while on a bushwalk in the Blue Mountains and made a series of calls to 000 begging for help after his third day in the open and 24 hours without water.

But when he told emergency operators he was lost, feeling faint and couldn't walk far, they kept asking him where the nearest street was and what suburb he was in — despite him repeatedly stating that he was lost in the wilderness.

During a coronial enquiry in Sydney, service counsel Michael Windsor SC admitted to theshortcomings of staff, who had failed even to ask the distraught boy's name.

"The Service acknowledges that there was a failure on its part to accurately convey the details of the conversations with David Iredale to police," he said.

"The Service unreservedly apologises to the Iredale family because of the failures."

David's parents, Stephen and Maryanne Iredale, had to leave the room when recordings of David's final moments were played.

In them, he explained he hadn't drunk water "for a long period of time" and in the final calls apologised for forgetting the name of the track he was on — only to be told "don't keep saying that, just tell me where you are".

Search parties eventually found David's body eight days after his death and only 200m from the Mt Solitary walking track he had identified during his earlier phone calls.

David and two of his schoolmates had undertaken their hike in the belief it would count towards a Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Police seek information following abduction and indecent assault – Windsor

Saturday, 07 Feb 2009 03:14pm

NSW Police are appealing for public assistance and vigilance following the abduction and indecent assault of a young woman in Sydney’s west last night.

About 6.30pm a 19-year-old woman driving a small black sedan, was stopped at a set of traffic lights at the intersection of Macquarie Street and Drummond Street in South Windsor, when a man entered the passenger side of her car.

The man allegedly forced the woman to drive to the South Windsor industrial area where he indecently assaulted and attempted to sexually assault her.

The woman was then forced to drive to Collith Avenue in South Windsor where the man fled the scene on foot.

The woman then drove to Windsor Police Station and reported the matter, before she was taken to Nepean Hospital for treatment.

Police would like to speak to a man who may be able to assist them with their inquiries. He is described as being of white European appearance, aged in his late 20s or early 30s, with blonde or brown hair, worn in a pony tail. At the time of the incident he was wearing shorts and a blue work singlet.

Anyone with information about the incident or the identity of the man is urged to contact Hawkesbury Police via Crime Stoppers on 1800 33 000.

Humans 'will be implanted with microchips'

14:00 AEST Fri Jan 30 2009
3 days 16 hours 28 minutes ago
By Josephine Asher, ninemsn

All Australians could be implanted with microchips for tracking and identification within the next two or three generations, a prominent academic says.

Michael G Michael from the University of Wollongong's School of Information Systems and Technology, has coined the term "uberveillance" to describe the emerging trend of all-encompassing surveillance.

"Uberveillance is not on the outside looking down, but on the inside looking out through a microchip that is embedded in our bodies," Dr Michael told ninemsn.

Microchips are commonly implanted into animals to reveal identification details when scanned and similar devices have been used with Alzheimers patients.

US company VeriChip is already using implantable microchips, which store a 16-digit unique identification number, on humans for medical purposes.

"Our focus is on high-risk patients, and our product's ability to identify them and their medical records in an emergency," spokesperson Allison Tomek said.

"We do not know when or if someone will develop an implantable microchip with GPS technology, but it is not an application we are pursuing."

Another form of uberveillance is the use of bracelets worn by dangerous prisoners which use global positioning systems to pinpoint their movements.

But Dr Michael said the technology behind uberveillance would eventually lead to a black box small enough to fit on a tiny microchip and implanted in our bodies.

This could also allow someone to be located in an emergency or for the identification of corpses after a large scale disaster or terrorist attack.

"This black box will then be a witness to our actual movements, words — perhaps even our thoughts —-and play a similar role to the black box placed in an aircraft," he said.

He also predicted that microchip implants and their infrastructure could eliminate the need for e-passports, e-tags, and secure ID cards.

"Microchipping I think will eventually become compulsory in the context of identification within the frame of national security," he said.

Although uberveillance was only in its early phases, Dr Michael's wife, Katina Michael — a senior lecturer from UOW's School of Information Systems and Technology — said the ability to track and identify any individual was already possible.

"Anyone with a mobile phone can be tracked to 15m now," she said, pointing out that most mobile phone handsets now contained GPS receivers and radio frequency identification (RFID) readers.

"The worst scenario is the absolute loss of human rights," she said.

Wisconsin, North Dakota and four other states in the US have already outlawed the use of enforced microchipping.

"Australia hasn't got specific regulations addressing these applications," she said.

"We need to address the potential for misuse by amending privacy laws to ensure personal data protection."

Uberveillance has been nominated for Macquarie Dictionary's Word of the Year 2008.


Cold Case Justice Project shines new light on old cases

Wednesday, 28 Jan 2009 05:09pm

NSW Forensic police scouring hundreds of fingerprints and DNA from historic crime scenes has led to two people being charged for offences which have remained unsolved for more than a decade.

The Cold Case Justice Project provided investigators from the Parramatta Local Area Command with crucial DNA evidence which led to a 39-year-old man being charged today (Wednesday) with the aggravated sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in 1996 in Parramatta.

Last November the Surry Hills Local Area Command charged a 44-year-old man with a 1994 aggravated break and enter and aggravated sexual assault. Again, the Cold Case Justice Project provided investigators with the DNA evidence required to lay the charges.

While these cases are currently before the court, the work of the Cold Case Justice Project continues to provide crucial links to investigating officers around NSW.

The Cold Case Justice Project is a three-year project which will see thousands of samples from major unsolved crimes from the last 30 years re-examined using the latest forensic technology, in a renewed effort to uncover breakthrough evidence.

The project is being led by the Forensic Services Group in collaboration with detectives from Local Area Commands and the State Crime Command, and the Division of Analytical Laboratories, NSW Health (DAL).

Forensic officers are scouring clothing, weapons and other exhibits from murders, attempted murders and sexual assaults from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s so they can be analysed using forensic techniques which did not exist at that time.

There are numerous unsolved sexual assaults and unsolved homicides from the 1970s until present day that could potentially be analysed.

To date the Cold Case Justice Project has:

· Analysed 414 samples from 274 cases:

· From these 274 samples, 223 DNA profiles have been extracted for upload onto the National DNA database.

This has generated:

· 26 “cold links” – this refers to DNA or fingerprints collected at a crime scene which links to a person sample where there was no previous link between the crime scene and the person

· 23 “warm links” – this refers to when DNA or fingerprints collected at a crime scene links to the DNA or fingerprints of a known person of interest (POI)

· Two scene-to-scene links – this refers to DNA recovered from one scene being linked to identical DNA at another scene.

· 16 National DNA Database links – this refers to DNA collected at a crime scene which links to DNA from people on the national database, usually people from interstate.

· 25 fingerprint identifications from previously-collected crime scene evidence.

The Cold Case Justice Project runs an initial screening process to assess the available information, evidence, documents and exhibits.

These are weighed up against the solvability of each case. This includes the existence of evidence which is detectable using today’s technology, and the availability of other corroborating evidence, to ensure the cases with the greatest likelihood of success receive the highest priority.

Once a link is identified, an intelligence package is prepared and handed to the appropriate investigating officers – this could include the Unsolved Homicide Team, other squads within the State Crime Command, or strike forces/detectives from local area commands.

Assistant Commissioner Carlene York, Director of the Forensic Services Group, said the Cold Case Justice Project allowed police to revisit hundreds of historic cases.

“Advancements in forensic technology and the creation of a National DNA Database have provided the NSW Police Force with an increased ability to further investigate cases that have either been unresolved or suspended,” Assistant Commissioner York said.

“By using the latest technology we are giving ourselves the best possible chance of finding breakthrough evidence, solving historic crimes and bringing closure to victims and families.

“This project will make offenders very nervous. If you think you ‘got away with it’ 20 or 30 years ago, you should think again. These cases are never closed.”

However, police have stressed that solving historic crimes were not as easy as portrayed in television dramas.

“Police want to stress to the public, especially to victims and families of victims, that investigating these cases is a complex, laborious and time-consuming process,” said Assistant Commissioner York.

“The simplistic portrayal of so-called ‘cold case’ investigations in TV dramas, and the speed with which cases are ‘solved’, is very different from the reality.

“This is a large-scale, long-term project that requires significant time and resources.

“The Cold Case Justice Project provides us with new scientific evidence that we didn’t previously have access to, but investigators still need to thoroughly investigate the new evidence to corroborate it with the rest of the case. The existence of DNA does not guarantee a clear up.

“With the passage of time it is also possible that crucial victims or witnesses may have moved interstate or overseas, they may have died or they may no longer be willing to follow through with a prosecution.

“This project is all about giving ourselves the best possible chance of solving these crimes by using the latest technology on historic exhibits,” Assistant Commissioner York said.
Anyone with inquiries about an historic or unsolved major crime should contact the local area command in which the offence was committed. Anyone with information that would assist investigators is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

NSW Government offers $600,000 in rewards for Strike Force Tuno information

Sunday, 25 Jan 2009 02:10pm

NSW Police Minister Tony Kelly today announced $600,000 worth of Government rewards in relation to information leading to the conviction of those responsible for three murders being investigated by Strike Force Tuno 2.

Although detectives from the Strike Force arrested and charged two men this week for conspiracy to murder Terry Falconer in 2001, they have taken the unusual step of seeking extra information through the Government rewards to identify, charge and convict other suspects involved.

The rewards are for information leading to the conviction of those involved:

· Terry Falconer murder - $200,000 reward (not previously announced)
· Suspected murder of Ian Draper - $100,000 reward
· Attempted murder of a 30-year-old man in a Haymarket bar in 2002 - $100,000 reward (please note this victim’s name was suppressed by Hornsby Court earlier this week) (not previously announced)
· Albert and Francis Perish murders - $200,000 rewards

The Queensland Police Minister has also posted a $250,000 reward in relation to the gunshot murder of Michael Davies on the Gold Coast in 2002. Strike Force Tuno is investigating this murder with the Queensland Homicide Squad.

Detective Inspector Gary Jubelin, Commander of Strike Force Tuno 2, said while the investigation has resulted in two arrests, they are still seeking further information from the public and believe more suspects are involved.

“This is a very complex investigation and while it has reached the stage where there are alleged offenders in custody, we are appealing for any information from the public in regards to five people murdered in NSW,” Det Insp Jubelin said.

“This is an unusual step, to post rewards after arrests, but we have reason to believe there are more suspects and we need the public’s help. Hopefully the amount of money being offered by the Government will be an incentive for those out there who know something to come forward and talk to us.”

Anyone with information regarding these murders is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Any information will be treated with the strictest of confidence.



Falconer murder: The murder of Terry Falconer, who was on day release when he was abducted from a smash repair business in Ingleburn on 16 November 2001. Falconer’s body was discovered in bags floating in the Hastings River on 26 November 2001. Two men, a 38-year-old and 39-year-old were arrested at a McMahon’s point café last Monday (19th January) and have been charged with conspiracy to murder Falconer. They are bail refused and currently before the courts.

Murder of Greg McDonald: Greg McDonald was shot at Wetherill Park on 29 January 1991.

Murder of 93-year-old Albert Perish and 91-year-old Frances Perish: Albert and Frances Perish were found murdered in their Leppington home on 14 June 1993. They had been shot and their home had been set alight.

Suspected murder of a mother and her three-year-old son: As a result of information received by Strike Force Tuno 2, an investigation was re-opened into the suspicious death of a mother and her three-year-old son who were found deceased on 29 June 2003 at the base of a cliff at the Springbrook Mountain Twin Falls on the Gold Coast. SF Tuno working with QLD Homicide Unit.

Murder of Michael Davies: Mr Davies’ body was found in his unit at The Esplanade, Paradise Point, on the Gold Coast on 17 April 2002. Davies died as a result of a gunshot wound. A partially burnt-out Datsun sedan was found nearby shortly afterwards. SF Tuno working with QLD Homicide Unit.

Disappearances/Suspected Murders

Suspicious disappearance and suspected murder of Ian Draper: Ian Draper was last seen alive leaving the Mount Pritchard Community Centre on 3 August 2001. His car, a white Ford sedan with NSW registration plates ACD 45Q, was later found abandoned on Bringelly Road at Leppington on 17 September 2001.

Suspicious disappearance and suspected murder of Paul Wheeler: Paul Wheeler disappeared in suspicious circumstances on 6 August 1999 from High Place, Queanbeyan.

Suspicious disappearance and suspected murder of Paul Elliott: Elliott, from Melbourne, has not been seen since leaving a hotel at Wolli Creek on December 6, 2008. Police suspect he has been murdered.

Attempted Murders

Attempted murder of a 41-year-old male at the Peakhurst Inn: The male victim was shot about 5am on 14 October 2001 whilst leaving the Peakhurst Inn where he was employed. The 38-year-old man was charged on Friday (23rd January) with shoot with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He is bail refused and currently before the courts.

Attempted murder of a 30-year-old male at Haymarket: A New Zealand national was shot a number of times while drinking at licensed premises in Harbour Street, Haymarket, about 9pm on 8 October 2002. The vehicle believed to be used by the offenders was later located in Douglas Lane, Haymarket, partially burnt out. The 38-year-old was charged with this offence on Monday 19th January.

Strike Force Tuno was set up in 2001 as a Homicide Squad led investigation. In October 2008, the Strike Force entered its second phase to investigate further murders. It is Homicide led and comprises investigators from a number of State Crime Command squads, the NSW Crime Commission and QLD Police Service.


Amber alert update - missing boy located, Carrara and Chermside:

QLD Police are praising the assistance of the media and the public in locating a 7-year-old boy who was the subject of a Child Abduction Alert earlier today. Just 20 minutes after the alert was issued to the public via the media, a woman called police after hearing the alert on ABC radio. The woman and her partner were driving at the time of hearing the alert and were able to identify the vehicle identified in the alert. A police patrol car then intercepted the vehicle and located the boy safe and well. A 29-year-old woman is now assisting police with their inquiries.

Radio plea led to kidnapped child's return

Posted Sun Jan 4, 2009 10:22am AEDT

Police say the quick return of a child kidnapped on Queensland's Gold Coast yesterday shows the child abduction alert system is working.

A seven-year-old boy was taken from a house at Carrara by a 29-year-old woman just after lunchtime.

A short time later police issued an official child abduction alert to the media, detailing the car they were travelling in and a description of the woman and the boy.

The pair, who are known to each other, were found about three hours later at Chermside in Brisbane's north.

Acting Senior Sergeant Jeff Cootes says a woman listening to her car radio helped police find the boy.

"A woman called police after hearing details on the radio and actually spotting the car," he said.

"The couple were driving at the time listening to the cricket on the ABC and we dispatched a nearby police patrol which intercepted the vehicle."

The boy was not hurt by the woman, who is assisting police with their investigations.

'Cremated' father reunited with family

September 5th 2008

A father mistakenly declared dead after going missing eight years ago has been reunited with his family after his son spotted him on British television, police said.

The family of John Delaney thought he had died when he disappeared in April 2000. They held a funeral and cremation after police found what they thought was his body three years later.

But Mr Delaney, 71, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, had in fact been admitted to hospital in a confused state 10 days after he was reported missing.

Suffering from amnesia caused by a head injury, he could not give police any clues about his name, address or family.

When further police checks failed to uncover his identity, he was given the new name David Harrison and handed over to social services. They put him in a care home where he stayed for the next eight years.

Meanwhile, a badly decomposed body found in the grounds of Manchester Royal Infirmary in 2003 was mistakenly identified as that of Mr Delaney. His family was informed and they arranged a funeral and cremation later that year.

The truth of what happened to Mr Delaney only emerged earlier this year when he appeared on a daytime television show about missing people.

His son John Renehan, 42, happened to be watching TV after working a night shift. He recognised his father and the pair were reunited after DNA tests confirmed they were related.

"I was in shock. We thought we had cremated my Dad. But I knew it was him," Mr Renehan told the Manchester Evening News.

In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said it had made mistakes and the family had been through a "traumatic" ordeal.

"At that time, only paper records of people reported missing from home existed," it said.

"Today, Greater Manchester Police has advanced systems in place to ensure that mistakes of this nature are not made.

"Robust checks are made to establish the identity of people who cannot immediately confirm who they are."

Police are trying to establish the identity of the man who was cremated in 2003. The officer who initially dealt with the case has since retired.

- Reuters

 Tuesday 05-Aug-2008 (1030 hrs CST)

Communication - the key to stop young people going missing

When communication goes missing, so do our youth. Don’t close the door to communication”  
In light of this national theme for Missing Persons week this year, Northern Territory Police are highlighting the fundamental role of communication in preventing young people from running away into potentially worse or unsafe situations.  
Detective Superintendent David Pryce of the Major Crime Division, which oversees the Missing Persons Unit, says that police often receive reports from concerned families, friends and caregivers after a young person has run away following some sort of breakdown of communication.  
“We understand there are many complex reasons why young people might go missing. One of the biggest misconceptions is that that going missing is a crime – it’s not. The main priority for police investigating a missing person report is to establish that the missing person is safe and well. Fortunately, only a very small percentage of missing person reports relate to stranger abductions with most missing person reports involving young persons being resolved fairly quickly.  
“Police are not going to locate a young person and put them back into an unsafe situation if that is what they feel they are running away from. What we are hoping to communicate to young people is that there are many support agencies and services that they can turn to for help before they reach the point where they feel they need to run away.  
“Running away from a problem is not the answer and fails to address the underlying issue and can also place young people in a much worse situation, particularly if they are walking the streets at all hours or relying on strangers or other persons that could take advantage of their vulnerability  
“In addition, lack of access to support, financial constraints, poor hygiene, substances abuse may all impact upon a young person’s ability to keep safe and whether they become a victim of crime or an offender.  
“Early location of a missing person is important as it reduces the emotional impact on those involved, the costs to government, and the likelihood that a missing person will be vulnerable to becoming either a victim of a crime or an offender,” said Superintendent David Pryce.  
Across Australia, young people account for more than two thirds of missing person reports. About 20,000 people under the age of 18 years are reported missing each year and research indicates they are predominantly female and aged between 13 and 17 years.  
Ann Buxton, the Executive Manager of Darwin, Palmerston and East Arnhem Services for Anglicare NT said that there are many agencies that work to support young people who may be going through a tough time and need somewhere to turn to.  
For example Reconnect is a network of 100 youth homelessness early intervention services across Australia funded by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.  
These services provide practical assistance, information and help to young people who have recently been missing or are at risk of leaving home.  
“We work with both young people and their families to re-establish contact and communications and get access to counselling and other support services”.  
“We find that young people run away because they may be experiencing conflict with family, seeking independence, a victim of crime, have mental health problems, suffer from drug and alcohol abuse, being influenced by peers or sometimes they simply just don’t tell someone who cares about them, where they are going”.  
Across Australia police have targeted young people with their campaign to raise awareness about triggers such as communication that can cause people to run away.  
“There is a dedicated missing persons website,, and pages on networking sites like myspace, bebo and facebook as well advertisements uploaded on you tube and online @ Hotmail, Messenger, Dolly, and Musicfix.  
“In the Territory, police have distributed posters at major shopping centres and other obvious hang outs like fast food outlets and local cinemas to try and engage young people.  
“I urge young people to think about the reasons why they want to run away and talk about it with people who care about them, or even consider seeking help from qualified support agencies and services. Talking it through will help to identify better alternate options than just running away.  
“If any member of the public knows the location of a young person who is reported missing, I urge them to talk to the young person to assist them in contacting their family, someone they trust or the local police to help resolve the investigation,” said Superintendent Pryce.  
Anyone with information about a missing person is strongly urged to contact police on 131 444.  
Further information about National Missing Persons Week which spans between Sunday 3 and Saturday 9 August can be found at the above website.  


Police cleared over body bungle

Posted Wed Jul 9, 2008 2:46pm AEST

A Supreme Court judge has ruled police did not owe a duty of care to the family of a missing man whose body went unidentified for four years after it was found.

Twenty-two-year-old Daniel Cumming's body was discovered off Bronte Beach five days after his mother reported him missing in 2001, but his family was not notified for another four years.

They brought a case against the state of New South Wales, alleging that police were negligent in the way they investigated Mr Cumming's disappearance.

But Associate Justice Joanne Harrison has today dismissed their claim and ordered they pay costs for the defendant.



Death of convicted child killer Valmae Beck in QLD - Valmae and husband Barrie Watts are thought to be responsible for several other missing persons cases across the country including -

Sharron Phillips,   Sophie WoodmanLouise Bell,   Stella Farrugia  and  Helen Feeney.

Barrie Watts is currently still in prison.

Police end search for missing Griffith man

Posted Thu May 22, 2008 1:38pm AEST  - ABC

Police have called off their search for a 43-year-old Griffith man who had been missing for a fortnight.

The man is insulin dependant and there had been concerns for his safety.

The Superintendent of the Griffith local area command, Michael Rohan, says the man did not contact police but he was sighted in Sydney on Tuesday.

"There's been a lot of resources that have been expended into the inquiry to locate this person ... we're grateful that he is safe and well and we no longer have the concerns for [his] welfare," he said.

"But people don't realise on the surface the work that is put in by local police from not only this local area command but from nearby local area commands in working to locate this person."

Monday 31 July 2006 (1605 hrs CST)

This week is Missing Persons Week and  members of the public are being reminded of the many people who go missing throughout Australia each year.

In Central Australia (NT) seven people have gone missing in the past 18 months.

The most recent was an elderly Aboriginal man, Patrick Doolan, who wandered away from the Amoonguna community just out of Alice Springs on April 24 this year. Despite an extensive search for the man  he still hasn't been found.

Just a few days earlier a Western Australian man, Brett McGillivray, went missing near Attack Creek about 80 kilometres north of Alice Springs. Police were alerted after a passing truck driver noticed the missing man's abandoned car in a truck parking bay. An air and ground search was mounted when police found the car keys had been left in the ignition and the man's family had not heard from him. Despite the extensive search and media coverage the man is yet to be found.

Also in the Attack Creek area, 60-year-old Czechoslovakian man Stan Dobias disappeared after walking down a track to lock the gates to the property he was living on. He was last seen on September 24 last year.

Another Czech who went missing was Lubos Gencur. Mr Gencur had flown to Australia for a hang-gliding competition, but decided to see Ayers Rock before the competition. He was last seen walking near Curtin Springs on January 4 last year.

Jennifer Lane was another missing person who has failed to turn up despite extensive media coverage. She, too, arrived in Alice Springs by plane, in April 2004, but disappeared shortly after. She was last seen at the YHA hostel in Parsons Street, and police were alerted after she failed to check out and her luggage remained uncollected.

Aloysious Hayes, a 41-year-old Aboriginal man,  went missing after he went with family members to William Well ? an outstation about 20 kilometres south-east of Alice Springs. His family became concerned and alerted police when it became apparent he never returned to Alice Springs and despite an extensive police search, no-one has seen him since.

In April  the family of Santa Teresa woman Sybil Malbunka became concerned for her welfare and alerted police. She was last seen at the boundary of the restricted area near Santa Teresa on about March 4 this year.  Despite a public appeal for anyone who may have seen her since, she has yet to be found.

  Police are urging anyone who may have information about any of the people listed above to contact 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Rescue squads are Logie bound

Release date: Tue 6 May 2008


They may have missed Sunday night’s Logies, but the Victoria Police Search and Rescue Squad, Air Wing and Water Police will be the stars of the small screen tonight.

Channel Nine’s reality show Search and Rescue, which follows the operations of the three specialist units, will make its on-air debut this week.

Acting Senior Sergeant Peter Sambell from the Film and Television Office, describes episode one as a ‘stand out’.

"The episode follows the rescue of yacht ‘Hands Off’ stranded in the Bass Strait with no power and no steering," A/Sen Sgt Sambell said.

"The rescue took 17 hours and two police members have been nominated for bravery awards due to their actions.

"When you see the footage, you understand why.

"The conditions these members went out in were horrendous."

A/Sen Sgt Sambell said the Victoria Police members truly are the stars of this show.

"They are absolutely brilliant, they demonstrate and explain what they do every day," he said.

"This showcases what their jobs involve and the conditions that they operate in.

"The best example of this is the Water Police, some of the jobs they do you would think no-one in their right mind would go out into in these conditions.

"But they do because it’s their job and they’re saving people’s lives."

The eight-episode series was filmed over 28 weeks from October last year to 22 February.

Profiles on the members featured in the program and further details are available at

Search and Rescue airs on Wednesdays at 8pm on Channel Nine.


Maribyrnong River wrecks 'may hold bodies'

Chris Evans
April 27, 2008


POLICE have reportedly said bodies could be found when they recover dozens of cars from the bottom of the Maribyrnong River in Melbourne's west.

Up to 130 cars were detected when police swept the riverbed with sonar equipment before the start of last year's spring racing carnival. Most are thought to have been stolen.

Water Police have invited parks officers and insurance industry leaders to a meeting on Thursday to discuss recovering the cars, under Operation River Sweep.

Channel Nine last night showed pictures taken by Melbourne diver Rubens Monaco in which a submerged Ford sedan could be seen. "The thing that was interesting … was that it was very well encrusted," he said.

The numberplate of a red four-wheel-drive could be clearly seen in other shots.

Similar operations have been proposed for the Yarra and Barwon rivers.

Five suicides a day: report

April 14, 2008 - 1:54PM - SMH

Suicide prevention advocates have called on governments and the community to act urgently saying five young men kill themselves

every day in Australia.

Today's calls come after statistics released last week in the Interagency Action Plan for Better Mental Health report showed the suicide rate in NSW had dropped to a 30-year low.

But action group Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) says the figures are still too high and suicides in indigenous communities may be occurring at a much higher rate.

SPA chair Michael Dudley said about 2,100 Australians died of suicide each year, with young men accounting for most of the male deaths.

"Evidence shows that of the reported cases of suicide each year, men account for around 80 per cent, while indigenous suicide rates are now suspected to be more than 40 per cent higher than those of the non-indigenous population," Dr Dudley said.

SPA executive officer Ryan McGlaughlin said the group was trying to understand why recommendations contained in papers written on indigenous communities had not been put in place.

"We have to ask community and government to look at all the papers that have been written and act at a high level," he said.

Little research had been conducted into how indigenous people understood and defined suicide and self-harming behaviour, SPA reference professor John Macdonald said.

"Likewise, we significantly lack initiatives that encourage help-seeking among men and that actively promote the value of men, their contributions to society and a range of positive male identities," Mr Macdonald said.

"This is in spite of the risks of suicide being something to which every man is potentially vulnerable."

For help with depression, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

One person disappears every 15 minutes

March 13, 2008 01:03pm

Article from: AAP


A PERSON goes missing in Australia every 15 minutes, a new report shows.

But of the 35,000 people who go missing annually about 90 per cent are found within a week.

Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus said: "This report identifies those groups most at risk of becoming a missing person and provides guidance on preventative strategies to reduce the number of people who go missing."

The report was written by the Australian Institute of Criminology and was commissioned and co-funded by the federal police and NSW Attorney-General's Department. 

    **Nicole's comment - Obviously this is alarming news, the "old" figures were 30,000 people a year, one every eighteen minutes. So more people are going missing - why is that and what can we as a society do to prevent it from happening? By far the most common people to go missing are those with mental illnesses, the elderly and teenagers.

 We're all aware that we're an aging population, so is the problem that as they grow older and possibly more succomb to the terrible illnesses of Dementia and Altzheimers, we are less able to look after them? Due to work and family committments, due to less places being available in nursing homes? High interest rates and petrol prices making it very difficult to afford the care they need and still survive ourselves?

The same might possibly be said about teenagers - the high costs of living, housing, petrol are forcing more families into being double income and having less time to spend with children, and without guidance these children turn to the streets, turn to their friends, turn to drugs and alcohol and run away. This of course doesn't apply to every case, it's most certainly a generalisation and raising teenagers is hard for any family.

In so many of the other new cases I add daily I see the words "suffers from an illness" as part of the circumstances. In most cases this will be a mental illness. We are getting better at accepting the fact that a mental illness is exactly the same as having any other physical illness, and we would not ignore or be embarrassed about a broken leg. Yet the funding and staffing for psychiatric units within hospitals in Australia is shamefully low and I believe this is resulting in poor care for the mentally ill, leaving most of the care up to families who are often unable to cope, and all too often these cases end in tragedy.

The bottom line is we need to recognise the vulnerable members of society and work harder to make sure they are safe.



Nicole's 2007 Christmas Message (but no, I am not the Queen!)

Merry Christmas......                              

I always feel a little odd saying that to you all as I know Christmas is usually anything but merry for you when you have that empty chair at your table. But I do send out good wishes for a peaceful time. I wish you a full night's sleep. I wish you that phone call you have been waiting for. I wish you some time to look at the people you do still have in your lives with love and I wish you good friends and family to support you.

The visitor clicker for the website recently turned over to 30,000 - that's absolutely amazing! I want to thank the many, many people who have assisted me this year in various ways. When I started this website almost three years ago I had no idea it would turn into what it has. It was really just a way to get out the information to as many people as possible about the missing but it's turned into so much more, a crusade really, and a way to really help the people left behind. Every day I meet new people, some offering to help and some in need of help. I want to especially thank April and Maree who have taken on a big part of AMPR - all the many people who contact me wanting to trace a family member. These people are not technically missing but April and Maree take on those cases to help them and like me, they do it voluntarily and they have helped so many people. Thank you ladies!

If I thank everyone else by name I'll be here all day but I want to send a special thanks to the Police officers of Australia, the men and women who bravely and tirelessly serve our country every day and do such a wonderful job finding the Missing. This year I have dealt with every Police department in the country and I have nothing but praise and admiration for you all. A Merry Christmas to you and deep thanks on behalf of all the families and friends of the missing.

Personally this has been a difficult year for me for various reasons but I think things are back on track and I will hopefully have a bit more time in 2008 to devote to this work. Thanks for being patient with me, I know I have a backlog of e mails to get through. I apologise once again, I get dozens of e mails every day and there's just little old me here at the computer in my lounge room to answer them all. I don't have an office, I don't have a fax machine, there's no one but me. I might get an e mail regarding an old case from 20 years ago, and that requires me to track down the original investigating officer which can take days or weeks, every case involves a great deal of work.

I apologise for the "building site" at the moment, it's a massive job moving all the pages over from the old website to the new and as I go along I am creating a new page for every person, and double checking the status of older cases. I know it's not completely easy to navigate at the moment but I promise I am working on it constantly. The latest figure I have is that around 1600 missing persons cases remain open of people missing longer than 6 months and the ultimate goal is to have every single one of those people on the website, as well as the people featured on the Daily Update page who might be just missing for a day or two. Thank you to all the people who offer to redesign the site - I appreciate all offers but right now I just need to get the info on here. I also don't want the site to be all bells and whistles, flashing do-dads etc, I want the site to be about the people in the photos and nothing else.

If you think you are a missing person PLEASE, take five minutes this Christmas to make that phone call home. Take one minute. Even better, turn up for Christmas lunch. I have had several families tell me this year that would be better than winning Lotto. The best gift you could ever give. I spend every day comforting your families and friends and getting them through this time. If you only knew what your disappearance was doing to them. There is nothing, nothing you could ever have done that can't be forgiven. They are NOT "better off without" you. They are falling apart, devestated, tortured by what they imagine might have happened to you.

I do understand there are times when you have decided to leave your past behind and that is your absolute right to do that. I just ask that you give your local Police station a visit and state you are on the missing list but that you are safe and well, they legally cannot inform your family where you are if that is your wish, you have the right to your privacy and anonymity. But it will at least let your family know you are alive. They deserve that much.

To the families and friends, I extend the invitation to you to write a personal message on your loved ones' page (just e mail it to me). The page is there for YOU. If your missing person isn't on the website and you want them added, it will be done the same day. If your missing person is already here but you want to add extra photos, you can send me as many as you like. If there are some details wrong on the page, they will be corrected immediately. I am very approachable so give me a ring - 0438 900 861 or       e mail

Merry Christmas to all and God Bless,


Cameras may keep close eye on The Gap

Jano Gibson Urban Affairs Reporter
November 13, 2007


LIVE security cameras, free emergency telephones and hard-to-climb fences could be installed at The Gap, one of Sydney's most notorious suicide spots.

Woollahra Municipal Council's draft master plan for Gap Park comes less than a fortnight after the Channel Ten newsreader Charmaine Dragun fell to her death from The Gap.

Ms Dragun, described by those close to her as "the sweetest person you could ever meet", experienced depression and died not long after switching to a new anti-depression medication.

The draft master plan, which also includes the first substantial landscape upgrade of the historic cliff-top park in 25 years, has been in the pipeline for many months and comes after consultation with police, Lifeline counsellors and psychologists.

"We've tried to be sensitive and have taken their recommendations into account, and the community will be able to have their say when the plan goes on public exhibition," said the deputy Mayor of Woollahra, Isabelle Shapiro.

If the plan is adopted and funding is secured for its implementation, closed-circuit cameras would be installed at the park's two main entry points, enabling Rose Bay police to monitor those entering and leaving the area.

The motion-activated cameras would help emergency services in responding to situations where people might hurt themselves and might also act as a deterrent to people contemplating taking their lives, police said.

Retrieved footage could also be useful in missing persons investigations, they said.

Cashless emergency telephones, similar to those used on the sides of highways, would be installed to give people in need direct access to counselling services and police.

Lighting in the park's two main viewing areas would be improved using LED lights mounted beneath proposed seating.

The LED lights can last for up to 25 years, produce a "warm" glow and are bright enough for faces to be seen on security cameras, the draft master plan says.

Another proposed initiative is for 1.3-metre-high balustrades to replace the fences at the lookouts. The balustrades would be difficult to climb over because they would lean inwards and have no footholds.

If someone were to climb over them, the design makes it relatively easy to climb back to safety.

The plan also includes recommendations on cultural, historical, environmental and recreational aspects of the park and accessibility. The story of how the Dunbar was wrecked at South Head would be illustrated at the site and military installations, such as gun emplacements, would be restored.

The suicide-prevention initiatives would cost about $400,000 and the project would exceed $1 million overall.

The draft plan will go on public display from November 21 to December 19.


Lifeline: 131114

beyondblue: 1300224636

Kids Help Line: 1800551800


New program to 'understand' families of missing persons

Posted 2 hours 45 minutes ago - ABC

A national training program has been launched to help the families of missing persons cope with their situation.

Federal Police estimate that around 30,000 Australians go missing every year.

The new support framework includes a training package to provide counsellors with new skills in understanding the trauma and impact experienced by families.

The AFP says for every person that goes missing in Australia there are at least 12 other people affected.

Spokeswoman Sarah Wayland says it is about giving counsellors additional skills to help those left behind

"So that they understand that for families it's not about deciding whether or not someone will come back but really acknowledging that space in between, that missing space when people don't know what's happened to their loved ones," she said.

Ms Wayland says families of missing persons need understanding.

"Once they report someone missing to the police they're really almost left in a space of not knowing where their loved one is but also not knowing where to turn to for help," she said.

"Sometimes in that effort to search for some help they're really getting some inadequate support from agencies who don't understand the concept of unresolved loss."

                     ************************************************************************* - Sane is an  Australian, not for profit, mental health advocacy organisation. They're  just starting a new research project to improve supports and services  for family and friends of people with a mental illness who have  committed suicide or have been missing for a long time. Please contact them if you'd like to know more.


**Please note, if you get a forwarded e mail about a missing boy named Evan Trembley please do NOT forward it on, it's a HOAX. There is no such boy. Someone stole a boy's photo from his My Space page and invented the story and now the real Trembley family have been inundated with calls, and it's simply a made up story.

If only stories about real missing people were so widely circulated!

You can verify the authenticity of these type of e mails by checking with Snopes, this is their info about the Trembley e mail -


A few weeks ago I received an e mail from a teenage girl named Terri-Lee Carter. If that name seems familiar to you it's because Terri had her own page on the Register with over 500 hits. Terri ran away from home in Sydney in 2005 when she was just 14. Happily, Terri is safe and well and now living in QLD and at the age of 16 she can look back on her troubled years, and I asked Terri if she could write in her own words a little about her experience as a missing person. Teenage girls aged 13-18 make up the largest group of missing persons out of the whole 30,000 who go missing each year so Terri's words are vitally important and we both hope that someone reading this will think twice about running away, and if you are reading this and know you have been reported missing, it's never too late to go home or ask for help to change your circumstances, or at least make a phone call and let someone know you're safe. If you're missing that means someone loves you and cares enough about you to make that report. As I write this, today a 13 year old girl who was reported missing in Townsville has been found dead.

                                                     It could happen to you.

Well done Terri-Lee for having the courage to survive being out on the streets at such a young age and for having the courage to return home. These are her words -

"There was a time in my life were i thought that Running away from home was a good thing i use to put the ones i love in stress n worrie but at that time i just didnt care cause i was just young and silly but now i relise what i was doin was so WRONG and DANGROUS there are so many stupid people out there that can hurt you but i didnt care. Me and my friends would just runaway we use to hitch hike rides and just run all for some fun. One day my dad told me terri-lee one day your goin to run and have no were to go and it was true none of my friends were there for me it was cold and raining i had no were to go i didnt want to phone my dad so i didnt instead i sleept in a park all bye myself cold no one to talk to or nothing it was so scary . In life you have to realise that Familly is the best thing to have i didnt realise that for a good 4 years in my life but now that i do im doin so much better with myself i dont runaway from my problems i sort it out . PLEASE to all you young girls runing away DONT DO IT there are so many dangerous PEOPLE out there that just dont care. AND USE DONT WANT TO BE IN THE WRONG SPOT AT THE WRONG TIME. Thats all it takes . Well  thanks for reading this . TERRI-LEE"


A note about psychics - I am often asked what I think about psychics being used to find the missing. I think it's time I said exactly what I think and it's been motivated by a recent event that has made me VERY angry. I was recently contacted by the family of a missing teenage boy. These parents were clearly distressed about their son being missing and desperate to find him, they consulted a psychic. This psychic told them that their son was "alone and afraid" and at a location interstate, thousands of kms from where he was meant to be. Obviously that's one of the most distressing things you can say to a parent, that their child is alone and scared and somewhere you can't reach them. AND SHE WAS WRONG. The boy turned up safely not far from where he went missing. He was not anywhere near the location the psychic had told the parents and he was safe and well. So what this so-called psychic achieved was to send those parents deeper into the nightmare they were already living and cause them extreme anxiety and fear.

So let me say this - if I hear about this happening, about psychics causing more fear and upset to the families of the missing, and of psychics charging the families a lot of money - or indeed any money - to give them vague "possible" theories about where their loved ones are, then I will find out who you are and I will do my BEST to have you discredited. I will complain to as many people as I can and make sure you cannot do this to anyone else.

Believe me, I understand the need for the families to grasp at any straw, to listen to anyone who thinks they can help but trust me, in two and a half years I have yet to meet a psychic to was able to actually tell me anything even remotely useful, and I am contacted by psychics constantly. I will be the first person to come out in praise of any psychic who can actually say "This person is HERE" and be 100% correct but until that day, then it can only cause more harm and distress to the families and I will not let that happen.


I read the most inspiring story and would like to share, told by Elma Flemming (from the Wayside Chapel) about an incident at the Royal Easter Show -

"Family and Friends of Missing Persons were lucky enough to be invited to be on the Peace stand, and we had posters up on the wall with people who had been reported missing, and a young lady kept coming and walking away, and coming back and walking away, and eventually I approached and asked if I could help. And she said, 'That's my picture in the photograph behind you'. In fact she'd been missing for something like three years and didn't think anybody cared enough to even go out there and look for her. So that was another good result. "

Whenever it all seems too much, remember this story.


Nrl Kicks Off Support For National Missing Persons Week

28 July 2006

The NRL has again thrown its support behind National Missing Persons Week, featuring photos of 21 missing people on big screens at matches this weekend.

The photos, as well as brief details about the missing person, and a 24-hour freecall number, will be flashed up on big screens at six rugby league games being played in NSW tonight and over the weekend.

NSW Police Missing Persons Unit spokesperson, Inspector Adam Taylor, said it was hoped the high profile support the NRL was giving the week would raise awareness of the people who are currently missing.

“Not knowing if your loved one is alive and well is devastating for the families of these missing persons and we welcome the support of the NRL in showing photographs of these people, many of whom have been missing for some years.

“It’s the fifth year of this initiative, and over that time the NRL support has helped to raise awareness of the state’s missing people. We would urge anyone who has information about the whereabouts of any of the people shown, to contact their local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000,” Inspector Taylor said.

NRL Chief Executive Mr David Gallop said today, “This is the sort of project where our clubs haven’t hesitated in offering their support. We’ve got a great ability to reach a large and diverse audience at our games so hopefully we might provide a few leads that help in resolving some of these cases.”

The first game featuring images of missing persons is Friday 28 July Sharks v Knights at Toyota Park. The missing people to be featured are:

Brendan Crinis - Brendan was last seen in the Wollongong area on 9 September 2002.

Ian Stanton - Ian was last seen on 9 May 2003 at Bundanoon.

Allan Blanch – Allan was last seen at Bulahdelah on 5 May 2006.

National Missing Persons Week begins on Sunday 30 July and will officially conclude on Saturday 5 August. However, a service will be held at Coffs Harbour on Sunday 6 August.

Online missing persons search launched
By Nick Ralston - The Australian
July 30, 2006

PAULINE Flint and her husband Lindsay say they have become very different people in the five years since their son Glenn went missing.
Glenn Flint was 26 years old when he went missing from the Manly district in Sydney's northern beaches in November 2001.

He has not been seen, or heard of since.

His parents now offer support to other parents who have lost children as well as giving talks to students at the New South Wales police college in Goulburn about their loss and their experiences.

"It's life changing, we're different people now," Mrs Flint said.

"We were given some advice early in the piece by an elderly lady who had lost her daughter 25 years before.

"She said it was better to be proactive than inactive and from that moment on, we thought even if we couldn't find Glenn, if we could help other families it will make us feel a bit better about our situation."

The Flints today joined NSW Police Minister Carl Scully and Police Commissioner Ken Moroney in launching an online database of missing persons.

The launch coincided with the start of Missing Persons Week. There are currently 568 cases in NSW of people who have been missing for 12 months or more.

Mr Scully said it was hoped the database will make it easier for the public to assist police in finding missing persons.

"At the moment, photographs of missing persons are pinned up on the walls of police stations, printed in a daily newspaper or flashed up on a television for a few seconds at best," Mr Scully said.

"While these may have been the best methods available in the past, it's now time to take advantage of the widespread public use of the internet and digital cameras."

The database will be linked via the NSW Police website and contains a photograph and description of the person who is missing.

It is the first time such a database has been made available online.

Mr Moroney said if it proved successful he would have no hesitations in sharing the concept with his counterparts in other states.

"We'll see how it works in NSW, early days give me great optimism," Mr Moroney saud.

A national missing persons database was first mooted in 1991 under the Labor government, while in 2005 an inquiry into the wrongful detention of Cornelia Rau recommended one be established urgently.

NRL Continues Support For National Missing Persons Week

29 July 2006

The NRL today continues its support for National Missing Persons Week by featuring photos of missing people on big screens at matches this weekend.

The photos, as well as brief details about the missing people and a 24-hour freecall number, will be flashed up on big screens at six rugby league games being played in NSW today and tomorrow.

The NRL’s support began last night with three missing people featured at the match between the Sharks and Knights at Toyota Park.

The missing people to be featured today and tomorrow are:

Saturday 29 July
Penrith Stadium – Panthers V Warriors

Ariel Livesey- Ariel was last seen on the 24 October 2003 at Katoomba.

Kellie Carmichael: Kellie left was last seen on 26 April 2001 at Katoomba.

Maureen Matterson – Maureen was last seen in Seven Hills on 5 December 2003.

Saturday 29 July
Parramatta Stadium – Eels V Manly

Glenn Flint – last seen on 15 November 2001 at Fairlight.

Levi David – Levi was last seen at Avalon on 23 April 2006.

Robert Wilson – Robert was last seen in Quakers Hill on 30 November 2001.

Saturday 29 July
Telstra Stadium – Rabbitohs V Canberra Raiders

Phillippe Fortin - Phillippe was last seen on 21 August 2002 at Liverpool.

Ji-Hun Jo – Ji-Jun was last seen in January 2005 in Sydney.

Simon Knight – Simon was last seen at Surry Hills on the 20 July 2005.

Sunday 30 July
Suncorp Stadium – Broncos V West Tigers

Iris Braidwood – Iris was last seen in Cronulla on 26 March 2003.

Quanne Diec – Quanne was last seen in Granville on 27 July 1998.

Charles Sudduth – Charles flew into Sydney from the United States on 5 March 2004. He has not been seen since.

Sunday 30 July
Jubilee /Kogarah Oval – Dragons V Melbourne Storm

Darren Jones – Darren was last seen on the 25 April 2006 in the Greenacre area.

Gregory Love – Gregory was last seen in the Ryde area on 23 April 1966.

Patrick Gallaty – Patrick was last seen at Campbelltown on 24 August 2001.

Sunday 30 July
Sydney Football Stadium – Roosters V Cowboys

Steve Platt – Steve was last seen in Bondi on 28 February.

Cengiz Sarac – Cengiz was last seen in Auburn on 2 August 2005.

Terence Payling – Terence was last seen at Cook’s Hill, Newcastle, on 19 March 2002.

The NSW Police Missing Persons Unit has welcomed the NRL’s support and urges anyone who recognises the faces of the people featured or knows their whereabouts to contact their local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

National Missing Persons Week officially begins tomorrow and concludes next Saturday (August 5). However, a service will be held at Coffs Harbour on Sunday 6 July.

Monday, July 31, 2006. 7:18am (AEST)- ABC
Research project designed to shed light on missing persons

A new research project has been commissioned to give police and policy workers a better understanding as to why people go missing in Australia.

The project is the initiative of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the New South Wales Attorney-General's Department and will be launched today in Canberra to mark National Missing Persons Week.

A counsellor at the NSW Family and Friends of Missing Persons Unit, Sarah Wayland, says the research will provide valuable information to tackle what is still a huge problem in Australia.

"At the moment the statistics suggest that there's about 30,000 people reported missing to police stations around Australia every single year," he said.

"In New South Wales, this year there is about 10,000 people that will be reported missing."

Ms Wayland says there has only been one other project of its kind in Australia

"The last research that was conducted was approximately eight years ago, so this new research will look into not only the phenomena of missing persons today, but what we can do for the future to provide some guidance to ensure that people perhaps don't continue to go missing," she said.

From African jail to head missing persons unit
By John Silvester - The Age
April 6, 2006

A SENIOR policeman who was convicted of sexual assault in Sierra Leone but later cleared is to return to the Victoria Police to review suspicious missing persons cases.

Superintendent Peter Halloran, the former head of the homicide squad, has agreed to head a taskforce to examine mysterious disappearances that police believe may be unreported murders.

He will also make recommendations on the best way to investigate such crimes in the future.

The cold case and suspicious missing persons unit was scrapped in a restructure of the crime department announced last month.

Assistant Commissioner (crime) Simon Overland last night said: "We are delighted to get someone with Peter's expertise to head the taskforce. He will lead a number of suspicious missing persons investigations and bring them to final conclusion."

Mr Overland said the taskforce was expected to run for one to two years.

Mr Halloran took leave of absence to work as a special war crimes investigator for the United Nations in January 2004. In August 2004, he was charged with the sexual assault of a teenage girl, convicted in February last year and sentenced to 18 months' jail.

The conviction was overturned early in October by an appeal court, which found the original finding was a miscarriage of justice.

Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon said after he was cleared that he would be offered a meaningful job in Victoria Police where he could use his skills and experience.

Mr Halloran pushed for the establishment of a suspicious missing persons unit when he was in charge of the homicide squad from 1989 to 1996. He argued that many missing persons cases would be found to be murder if they were quickly and efficiently investigated.

He was also in charge of complex cases when he was a senior investigator with the National Crime Authority from 1985 to 1987.

The decision to scrap the cold case and suspicious missing persons unit was widely criticised because the team had been successful over the previous five years in uncovering murders and solving old cases using new methods, including DNA technology.

In announcing the changes, Mr Overland said cold case techniques would be used to investigate a range of unsolved serious crimes, including homicides, sex offences and armed robberies. Serving and former senior police would be called in to review unsolved crimes with "fresh eyes".

Piecing together the puzzle - The Border Mail

FOR tens of thousands of Australians, National Missing Persons Week is about getting some answers.

Themed “life is a puzzle — every piece is important”, this week is about encouraging the public to come forward with information about the 30,000 loved ones reported missing in Australia each year.

Victoria Police Det Sgt Rick Sparvelis, from the missing persons unit, said police were appealing for missing persons to present themselves to police.

“It is not a crime to go missing and everyone has the right to disappear,” he said.

“But if you think you might be classified as a missing person please attend a police station with identification so that we can close your file.”

Sgt Sparvelis said police would only notify the person’s family that they had been located.

“No details of the missing person’s location will be revealed without the prior consent of the person,” he said.

Many people disappear to escape control but other reasons include peer pressure, domestic problems, mental health issues and financial pressure.

Insp Adam Taylor, from the NSW Police missing persons unit, said the state had an overall location rate of 99 per cent.

“Seventy per cent of missing persons are located or return home within three days,” he said.

Anyone with information about a missing person should contact Crime Stoppers, 1800 333 000 or their local police station

Runaway youths soon found - Border Mail

DOZENS of mainly young and elderly people are reported missing to Border police each week.

But in the majority of cases they are found within 24 hours.

Wodonga police Sen-Constable Mark Deegan said while the area did not have more missing persons than other regional centres, residents regularly went missing.

He said missing persons cases in Wodonga usually involved children running away from youth housing.

“Normally the cases are domestic related and the person doesn’t want to be found,” he said.

“But we take every reported case very seriously and we immediately conduct a search.”

Elderly people in residential care also went missing.

“This comes down to several reasons but is usually due to illness,” Sen-Constable Deegan said.

A person is declared missing as soon as there is concern about their safety and wellbeing.

Sen-Constable Deegan said that person is then put on a national missing persons database.

Lack of communication caused problems.

Albury police InspLes Nugent said that was often the main reason behind the disappearance of young people.

Usually it was not serious, such as a young person going out somewhere with their mates.

No one is reported missing in Albury-Wodonga, though there is one case at Wangaratta, three at Wagga and two at Deniliquin.

Police hope DVD will reduce missing people statistics
Wednesday, 6 December 2006 - ABC

A new DVD will be shown in Gilgandra, in western New South Wales, this morning as part of a pilot project to encourage the Aboriginal community to report missing people to police.

It has been produced by the missing persons unit of the NSW Police and Attorney General's Department to help improve the chances of missing people being found safe and well.

John Le Breton, the director of Victims' Services, says research has shown young females are over-represented among missing Aboriginal people.

"During 2002 we've found there were 133 files of Aboriginal females reported missing to police and almost half of those were
young women 12 to 15 years of age," he said.

"We want to make sure that those people are looked after, to let them know there are supports and services out there."

Mr Le Breton says the DVD tries to reach out to those 12 to 15-year-old girls.

"The DVD includes Dean Widders, the popular football player, Linda Burney and two other people who identify very strongly with the Aboriginal community and to emphasise that it's not a crime to go missing, but it's very, very important to report someone missing and for the person that does go missing to let people know they're safe and well," he said.


Nicole's Blog


                                                 THANK YOU................

It's been a massive year for me yet again and the most successful yet, with some great achievements. Although I do this on my own there are some people I would like to thank who gave me some wonderful assistance over the year. I can't thank everyone or I'd exceed my webspace :) but just a few particular mentions to people who have made tremendous efforts towards finding the missing.

Regarding the webspace mentioned above, a huge thanks to Darren from for donating this webspace. When the bushfire tragedy happened the website almost crashed with over 90,000 people visiting in just a few days. Darren responded to my begging to keep it online and thus helped thousands of people all over the world find out whether friends and family were safe. Thank you. :) The website needs to expand as it's at bursting point so Darren I will be talking with you soon about upgrading.

Maree and Tash - Always there when I need you, outstanding work with the SES as well as a genuine caring and assistance with searching for the missing, THANK YOU!!!!!

Kevin - together we found Evan at Easter, and you drove a thousand kms to Sydney and then back again to bring him home. I am still in awe at your commitment. Thank you.

Wendy - you spent hours with me compiling the lists of those lost in the Victorian bushfires, and I know it took its toll on us both. You did something wonderful for lots of people, a big thank you to you.

April - you tirelessly reunite families in the Family Tracing cases, I don't know how you do it, you are so clever and a huge THANK YOU for all your efforts!

Sis - you drove across Brisbane to reunite an elderly lady with a friend she hasn't seen in years, on the other side of the world. You are amazing.

Lianne -  my new dearest friend :)  Thank you for everything, for listening and being just about the first person I ever opened up to about it all, for always being there and for the journey we are on together.

To all the families and friends of the missing, thank you for your strength and courage.

To all the thousands of Police Officers, SES workers, Ambulance Officers, Firemen and women around Australia who spent this year searching for the missing, a big thank you on behalf of all the people you helped. You are all heroes.

I know there will be a great many people you love that you can't spend Christmas with this year, so please feel free to send a message to them via the guestbook, Click Here or you can e mail them to me -  and I will put them here on the front page (see below) in the hope that your loved one will read it and give you a call this Christmas.

And to all the people who I know read the website every day, a huge thank you for your support and all the hundreds of encouraging messages you have sent throughout the year, when I needed them most. :)  This year I had around half a million visitors to the website, which blows me away, thank you all so much for caring about the missing and seeing their faces.

                         A very Happy Christmas to you and your families.



Helen  Courtney nee Hosking -   "Merry xmas, your kids miss u everyday xoxo"         from Kelly. "We all think about her at xmas time, she has 2 granddaughters now and 2 grandsons who should know their Nanna."

Maree Agostino - "Maree please call me I love you and need you so much its been 25 years now I need to hear your voice from your baby sister tonie xxxxxxxxxxx"


February 7th 2009

Not very good at this blog thing, huh? Sorry! Then again I'm not sorry, because what's keeping me from this has been doing a heap more work to help the missing. This week I have been manually checking every single outstanding missing person from the 2007/2008 group and either filing them as located, moving them to Moved Missings or moving them to the long term missing pages organised by State. Still going on that list!

Great news with two of the families on the new Parental Abduction page being reunited with their children this week! Let's hope we can clear up that whole page in 2009 and also work towards preventing situations like this happening in the future, with more effort going into custody dispute counselling and communication between families and the recognition of mental illness in a parent putting children at risk - there are so many reasons this happens and it's something I will be looking into in more depth as the year continues, with a new project on the horizon. The worst case scenario is obviously the situation we had last week of little Darcy Freeman being thrown from the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne. This shows us we need to work harder than ever at keeping families together and sorting out problems before they get to the desperate levels we see in cases like Darcy's father and the parental abductions.

The Aussies Missing Overseas page is now up and running, coinciding with Sunday night's airing of the Britt Lapthorne case on Channel 7. Britt's family have also been working with Senator Steve Fielding of the Family First party to get the laws changed to help other families in their situation - please visit this page and follow the link to the petition. I was in contact with Senator Fielding's office yesterday and they are very supportive of the Register and happy for me to promote their petition. It's fantastic to see a politician willing to do something for missing persons!

Something I happened to see on TV this week made me cranky - I caught the end of Home and Away on Channel 7 which I know is a hugely popular show. The characters were discussing a 15 year old girl who had apparently run away and one of the characters was asking a Policewoman could they report her as a missing person. The Policewoman's answer was No, she was not regarded as a missing person and the police would not "throw resources" into finding her as she had left a note saying she was running away.

This is not accurate!!!!

It horrifies me to think how many people watched that and now think the Police will not investigate a runaway. I can ASSURE you that if you go to report a 15 year old girl as a missing person,




If you come across a situation where this does not happen, you tell me and I will find out why. If you have genuine concerns for the welfare of any person, especially a 15 year old who is a minor, then of course the Police will investigate and try and locate them. They have a duty of care and an obligation to assist anyone in need and to investigate where there is a concern for welfare of any person.

SHAME on the producers of Home and Away for misleading people in this way, these comments could be very harmful and I can only hope it does not make any parent wait before reporting a child as missing.

Lastly, thanks to everyone who has joined my Facebook page, great things are happening there with some great groups being formed to spread awareness of the Missing. To become my Facebook Friend, click here.

November 14th 2008

Busy busy busy again at the moment as I help organise the Squeaky Wheel series of concerts being held in various Sydney venues this week. They will be honouring missing Revelle Balmain, Melloney Menhennitt and Stephen Mitchell.

I'm also working on a Parental Abduction page after several requests for that so that's coming very soon.

A huge THANKS to my good friend Tony for his wonderful help in getting the Jane Rimmer CCTV footage onto her page and also Sarah Spiers' page. I am sometimes clueless when it comes to the technical side of the website so I deeply appreciate your help Tony! Mwa!

More and more children particularly in NSW have been approached by strangers which is so worrying, please be vigilant! Check the Abductions page for details.

Today brings the news of the trial of the mother of Shannon Matthews. In case that name isn't familiar to you, Shannon was a 9 year old girl who was missing for 24 days in the UK this year. She was eventually found safe and well concealed in the base of a bed in the home of her uncle. Details are now starting to emerge from this bizarre case and it is alleged that Shannon's mother concocted the entire story in order to collect the reward money that was raised by the media. She did numerous appeals for information about her missing daughter whilst the whole time allegedly keeping her restrained by some kind of a noose or dog lead.

Because this case is currently before the courts in the UK I am unable to make public comment about it, but may I express my utter fury and contempt.......more to come when the case concludes.


October 28th 2008

I had a bit of a rest last week so I apologize for the delay in getting back to people. I hope to be on top of my e mails today.

Not many new cases coming through but lots of old ones needing attention. I am also this week preparing to give a child safety talk to 96 children. In light of the more than 60 abduction attempts in NSW alone in the past couple of months, my talk as part of this week's Day for Daniel on Friday is coming at a good time.

This morning brings this news -

Body remains found, Mackay: QLD Police have today arrested a man for his alleged involvement in the death of man in 1988. Police forensic testing allegedly revealed that a human bone found in bushland outside of Mackay in 1994, was linked to a man named Luke Ling who disappeared in 1988. Police charged the Mackay man with one count of misconduct with a corpse, interfering. He is due to face Mackay Magistrates Court on November 13. The arrest related to the disposal of the man’s body not the actual cause of his death. Police are appealing for any further information from anyone with information on Mr Ling or his disappearance from the Mackay area

Is it just me, or are you also horrified that remains found in 1994 have only just been tested NOW, in 2008????

The problem is that every crime now - be it murder, rape, armed robbery, house burglary, carjacking - is forensically examined. That means a massive, massive number of DNA samples are taken from every crime scene, and all are put in a queue for testing by under-resourced labs. This bone has been waiting years and years to be identified, years in a queue while Mr Ling's family waited, not knowing his fate. I hate to think how many other missing persons have actually been found, but are waiting in that queue while their families fall apart.

The solution? Human remains that are located must be given PRIORITY over all other forensic testing. Human life is precious, and these lives are important. They MUST be tested and identified AS SOON AS they are found.

October 10th 2008

I have been toying with this idea for a while now, because I love to write and I usually have alot to say, but I have always maintained this website isn't about me, it's about all those faces on the pages that I hope you go and look at as much as possible.

But sometimes there are things I'd like to announce, upcoming events, what goes on behind the scenes so to speak. Sometimes it takes me months to return mail, as I am overwhelmed with requests from people about various things and it would be good to let you know that I do cram as much into my day as I can and if I don't get back to you it's because usually an urgent new case has landed in my inbox.

Sometimes also I want to protest about something in the news that has upset me. So I figured I would start this blog.

The thing that has prompted me to do it today is the absolutely dreadful treatment of Britt Lapthorne's family by both the Croatian authorities and the Australian government. They have found human remains, and that in itself is a bit of a miracle, but why have they been unable to identify them? And if it's not Britt, who is it?

When the tragic Bali bombings occurred Australia sent a crisis team over to assist with the identification of our deceased. This was because they were Australian citizens who died horribly on foreign soil. And how is Britt's case any different???  Why have they not flown a forensic dentist from Australia to Croatia? Why haven't they done a priority DNA test?? Britt's family should not have to wait a second longer to know whether or not this is their daughter, for if it is not then valuable time is being wasted

I noted a similar problem with the Maddy McCann case, also a foreign citizen, where help from the originating country was allegedly refused. I don't care about politics, I don't care about government red tape and protocol, it all frustrates me, life needs to be much simpler and we must realize we were all put on this earth equally.  There were once no borders, no fences, no checkpoints; we created them. When it comes to human tragedy, we are all the same, and we have a duty to help our fellow man without any of the other political rubbish getting in the way. Diplomacy be damned, this is someone's daughter and we have the resources and technology to identify her TODAY. So just do it.