Mildura Weekly : Friday August 5 Vol 10 No 39
10 OPINION MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 2016 • From Page 1 Among the high profile cases are the disap- pearances of Noel Edward Humphreys, who was last seen hitch-hiking from Hattah to Mildura in 1964 at age 15, Andrea Louise Lorenz, last seen in 1976 aged 16, Dimitrios (Jim) Fitos, last seen in 1998 when he left home to attend an appoint- ment, and Brian George Killingbeck, who was last seen in 1986. According to Mildura police statistics, 160 people were reported missing in the Mildura Police Service Area in the last 12 months alone, while another 33 people went missing in the Swan Hill area. In Australia, more than 35,000 people are reported missing each year, and while a large percentage of these cases have a happy ending, a small portion end in tragedy, or with no answers at all. National Missing Persons Week aims to raise awareness around the issues and impacts sur- rounding such disappearances, with this year’s theme urging people to ‘stay connected,’ and to remember that “missing persons leave frayed edges.” The 2016 campaign also aims to enhance personal and communal support networks that assist those most at risk of going missing. Mildura’s CIU team is primarily responsible for investigating missing persons in the region, with ‘cold cases’ reviewed periodically, or as new information comes to light. Det. Snr Sgt Anderson, who has been a mem- ber of the Mildura CIU for 12 years, said that in terms of the region’s “handful” of long-term missing persons cases, it could take time for new information to come light. “If any new information does comes in, whether it be through public information, Crime Stoppers or a new forensics development, then our CIU team follows it up,” he said. “Certainly with some of the older cases – ones that originated in the 1960s or ‘70s – the methods used weren’t as advanced as they are now, or as precise, accurate or detailed as what they are now. “Missing person cases are always subject to review, and while in some cases it can be quite upsetting for families and loved ones to be con- tinually reminded of their grief, it at least gives them confidence that those cases are still being reviewed. “While thankfully most people are found reasonably quickly, unfortunately some cases do end tragically. “Some cases can go cold for some time – sometimes for years – before new information al- lows us to pursue the matter further, while other cases can go to an inquest. “If that happens after several years without a result, it can certainly open wounds.” Det. Snr Sgt Anderson said that not all disap- pearances were the result of foul play, with some people simply looking for an escape. “Some people just don’t want to associate with family members anymore – which is their choice to make,” he said. “All we ask is that if you have made that choice, let someone know that you are safe.” Det. Snr Sgt Anderson said it was important with any missing persons case that people with information came forward. “Some people might know something, even if it is from a long time ago,” he said. “Maybe at the time they didn’t feel comfortable coming to police, or maybe they didn’t want to get involved. “We encourage anyone with any information to come forward at any time.” Anyone with information about the where- abouts of a missing person is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or contact the Mildura Police Station on 5018 5300. Victoria Police’s Missing Persons Squad is also establishing a new webpage which will be dedicated to not only publicising missing per- sons cases, but also providing information for families and friends of missing people to assist them in dealing with the situation. As part of the National Missing Persons Week campaign, police are also reminding people there is no need to wait 24 hours to report someone missing. A report can be made the moment a person’s welfare and/or safety is believed to be in jeopardy because their whereabouts is unknown. Letters to the editor Nationals celebrate centenery Sir, The Nationals celebrated a tremendous milestone last weekend – 100 years in politics. During that time, we have gone by many names, first the Country Party, Na- tional Party and now The Nationals, but there is one thing that has never changed – our commitment to regional communities. Unlike the current Andrews Labor Gov- ernment, the former Coalition Govern- ment put this pledge to regional Victoria into action. We put funds into country hospitals and improving country roads and bridges, and followed through with our commitment to the Murray Basin Rail project. More recently, our members of parlia- ment have stood with their local CFA as Daniel Andrews tries to hand control of the 60,000-strong volunteer organisation to the United Firefighters’ Union (UFU). We have challenged Daniel Andrews’ soft on crime approach. Crime rates are spiralling out of control, but since De- cember 2014 we have seen frontline police numbers cut and stations closed down. In fact, police numbers are basically static, despite Victoria’s population growing at 100,000 per year. This population growth presents other challenges, and opportunities for our great State. At our State Conference last weekend, we asked a panel of regional experts to dis- cuss this important issue. It built on work the Liberal National Coalition is already doing under the Victorian Population Taskforce, which is charged with develop- ing a whole of government approach to re- gionalising our population growth. We will continue to investigate this in the lead-up to the 2018 election. After 100 years – and against predic- tions at nearly every election that The Na- tionals will be gone – we are still going strong. Our dynamic team represents a mix of skills, age and gender that signal our party has a bright future for many years to come. I look forward to continuing the work of the many parliamentarians before me dedicated to achieving the best outcomes for regional Victorians. Peter Walsh Leader of The Nationals Member for Murray Plains Lost camera a cause for distress Sir, We are visitors from Western Australia un- dertaking a 10 to 12-week drive to Queens- land and then home again. We are currently on the return journey, and stayed for a few days in beautiful, his- toric Mildura last weekend. While walking around the Lock 11 area, our camera with nearly 10 weeks worth of beautiful photographs fell (we think) from my coat pocket. It may have fallen from another desti- nation after we left the Lock, however we definitely had it while we were there. It is not the loss of the actual camera, but the irreplaceable photos on the memo- ry card that has so upset us. If ANYONE finds it, could they please return it to the Mildura Police Station. The police have our address, and will forward it on with the ‘finder’s’ name. We are offering a reward, and will be home by August 10. Thank you. Colleen and Don Hamersley, Western Australia Where is Shelley?
Friday July 29 Vol 10 No 38
Friday August 12 Vol 10 No 40