Missing Persons Week prompts calls for information on human remains found in South Australia – Michmutters

Missing Persons Week prompts calls for information on human remains found in South Australia

National Missing Persons week has prompted renewed calls for information on unidentified human remains and missing South Australians.

An average of 12,000 South Australians are reported missing every year, but detectives confirm 99 per cent of those cases have been solved.

Major Crime Investigation Branch Detective Inspector Brett Featherby said investigations are underway into multiple unsolved cases.

“Currently in South Australia, there’s 147 long-term missing persons,” said Detective Inspector Featherby.

Of those, 55 have been declared major crimes and deemed to be suspicious.

Detective Inspector Featherby said 42 of the 147 missing people were believed to be lost at sea.

Operation Persevere was set up by SAPOL to provide a structured consistent approach to locate missing persons.

Detective Inspector Featherby said all uncovered information is uploaded to a national database.

This includes human remains found.

“Currently we’ve identified 11 of those [human remains] and there’s 18 under investigation,” he said.

‘We frequently hold forensic case meetings, where we review the investigation.

“We may require assistance — locally, nationally or internationally.

“Since February 2022, we’ve provided 12 samples to the national database.

“We intend to deliver further samples next week.”

Forensic Science SA director Linzi Wilson-Wilde and her team of scientists work with police.

A portrait photo of a woman smiling.
Forensic Science SA Director Linzi Wilson-Wilde says families deserve answers.

“Forensic technology is continually evolving,” said Professor Wilson-Wilde.

“We can revisit decades-old cases with new techniques and fresh eyes that can uncover information that was previously unavailable.

“Investigating these often tragic cases to bring much-needed closure to the families of missing persons.”

Calls for public help to identify human remains

A search for evidence is underground after human remains were found in a South Australian park last week.

But there are also some human remains of interest that have remained a mystery for years.

Detective Inspector Featherby has called for renewed public help, particularly around four cases.

A sketch of a man
A fully clothed deceased male was located on the sand at Victor Harbor, this sketch was created from photographs of the deceased. (Supplied: SAPOL Media)

“One is a man aged around 50 years, located at Kings Beach west of Victor Harbor, in 1964,” he said.

“Another is a middle-aged older man who was located near the Playford Highway west of the Airport on Kangaroo Island in 1983.”

Detective Inspector Featherby also highlighted the remains of a young adult found at Woolwash Beach bay near Port Macdonell in 2004.

“That person had surgery on their upper arm and they have a surgical plate in their arm,” he said.

The fourth case is a man aged between 25 and 50 who was found near Mount Lofty in 2010.

“That gentleman has had restorative dental work, which we believe was conducted in Japan or China, and we believe he is of Asian descent,” Detective Inspector Featherby said.

Historical missing persons cases in spotlight

Detective Inspector Featherby said police were also seeking information specifically regarding two missing persons cases.

Age progression shots of a young man into an old.
The age progression of Gregory John Michael Christiansen. (Supplied: SAPOL Media )

“One of those is Gregory John Michael Christiansen who at the time of going missing was aged 41 years,” said Detective Inspector Featherby.

A man with black shaggy hair in a police image
Gintautas Paul Stimbury’s family has waited 30 years for answers after he was reported missing from his home at Gawler River on 8 August 1992. (Supplied: SAPOL Media )

“I arrived at Port Germein by bus on the 6th of January 2003.”

“He stayed at a hostel for several days, and then on the 7th of January he was last seen when he said he was going to go for a walk on the beach.

“I have left his possessions at the hostel.”

The other is Gintautas Paul Stimburys who was 35 at the time he went missing.

‘He was reported missing on the 8th of August 1992 when he left his house at Gawler River,” Detective Inspector Featherby said.

“This year marks the 30th year of his disappearance.”

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