Queensland's Wolf Creek? Has a serial killer been hunting victims on this remote highway?
- Category: Tennant Creek
- Created: Monday, 17 February 2014 06:14
- Written by Peter Michael - CourierMail
DOES a serial killer stalk an outback stretch of road infamously dubbed the "highway of death"?
As police investigate fresh leads in the 32-year-old murder mystery of hitchhiker Tony Jones, the spectre of a thrill killer hangs over at least 11 unsolved cold cases on the Flinders Highway.
“It is it’s own world out there,’’ said the missing man’s brother Mark Jones.
“Strange things do happen in those wild empty spaces.’’
The Flinders Highway that turns into the Barkly Highway is an isolated, remote 800km stretch of bitumen between Townsville and Mount Isa.
Tony Jones was backpacking across Australia and was last heard from when he phoned his father in Perth from a Townsville phone box on November 3, 1982. He has never been found.
Blood-red iron ranges, open plains, dry riverbeds, and spinifex country stand as silent witness to some chilling killings.
“We’ve spent years trying to find links to unsolved murders like Tony’s,’’ said Mr Jones, 53, of Melbourne.
“In terms of a fit, if you look at those with no apparent motive, you can find links.
“This could be the work of a thrill killer.’’
Like serial killer Ivan Milat and Falconio killer Bradley Murdoch, a hunter stalks his prey on an isolated highway, he said.
“It is a lonely abandoned road in the middle of nowhere.
“But if the same person did these completely random killings, why stop?
“Was he in jail, did he go ground, or is he still out there waiting for the next victim?’’
Catherine Graham, 18, was found dead at Anthill Creek, west of Townsville in 1975. She had been bashed with a rock.
For three decades, two coronial inquests, an ongoing homicide cold case and a paid private investigation, the family of the missing backpacker has never given up hope of solving his baffling disappearance.
“This latest talk of a breakthrough gives us fresh hope,’’ said Mr Jones, at a family gathering in Perth.
“Police have been on the wildest of goose chases over the years.
“Hopefully these new leads out of Hughenden can crack a 30-year-old cold case.’’
Lone hitchhiker Tony Jones vanished without a trace on the night of November 3, 1982.
He was last seen near an section known as Townsville’s killing fields, Anthill Creek, about 26km out of town.
It is the same area where police found the sexually ravaged bodies of the Mackay sisters — Judith, 7, and Susan, 5, — in 1970.
The Mackay sisters, Judith, 7, and Susan, 5, of Aitkenvale, Townsville, were murdered on August 26, 1970. Their bodies were found stabbed, raped and strangled at Antil Plains, near Townsville.
Despite one of the most intensive manhunts in Australian criminal history, their killer was never caught.
Arthur Brown, 86, was charged with their murder 28 years later, but legal manoeuvres based on his mental health allowed him to escape prosecution. He died in 2002.
Five years later the body of Catherine Graham, 18, was found raped and slain on the same location.
In October 1978, Karen Edwards, Gordon Twaddle and Timothy Thompson were found shot in the head near Mt Isa, about 250km west of Julia Creek.
Hitchhikers Robin Hoinville-Bartram, 18, and Anita Cunningham, 19, also disappeared along the Flinders Highway.
Robin Jeanne Hoinville-Bartram, 19, was travelling with Anita Cunningham in 1972. Her skeletal remains were found in west of Charters Towers. She’d been shot.
Anita Cunningham disappeared in 1972 while hitchhiking with Robin Hoinville-Bartram. Anita has never been seen since.
Robin was shot twice in the head and her skeletal remains were found west of Charters Towers in July 1972.
Anita was listed as missing but police believe she was killed with her friend.
Those murders, too, are unsolved.
Northern Regional Crime Co-ordinator Cheryl Scanlon declined to comment on the likelihood of an outback serial killer.
“We are purely focused on this one cold case of Tony Jones and I don’t want to detract from our momentum,’’ said Acting Superintendent Scanlon.
“We believe we are as close to solving this case as we have ever been.’’
Gordon Twaddle, along with Timothy Thompson and Karen Edwards, was found shot in the head near Mt Isa in 1978.
Several anonymous phone calls had detailed “completely new’’ and “very specific leads’’, she said.
Serious crime and homicide detectives this week swooped on the outback cattle town of Hughenden, 384km west of Townsville.
A $250,000 reward still stands and those with any information are asked to please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000
Source : http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queenslands-wolf-creek-has-a-serial-killer-been-hunting-victims-on-this-remote-highway/news-story/468030ec3b3c6c2820d9b38cce5d9b62