Police track down person of interest in Queensland outback mystery

Putting the Ford at the scene of Mr Rivers’ disappearance assumed vast and almost continuous back-and-forth travel.

Family members of Mr Rivers from the East Kimberley community of Warmun maintained a presence at Noccundra, about 20 kilometres from Wippo Creek, in the hope of answers.

They believed all but one of the car-load of fuel thieves had been located, but police had told them little else about them. Mr Rivers’ aunt Brenda Garstone said this had become a theme.

“There seems to be a disconnect between the family and police,” Ms Garstone said.

“Family are left feeling the responsibility to put the missing pieces together and do the investigation. We’re not hearing any further information around what the case is doing.”

The last image of Jeremiah Rivers at the Wippo Creek camp.

The last image of Jeremiah Rivers at the Wippo Creek camp.

The family remained angry at the length of the official search effort, which wound up within days rather than weeks, and the time it had taken to interview the six men who were travelling with Mr Rivers when he went missing.

At last update on November 16, detectives had interviewed four of the six campers. Acting Superintendent Stephen Blanchfield said the delay was because they had been forced into COVID-19 isolation in their respective states of Victoria and NSW.

This was because at least two of the campers were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the immediate days after Mr Rivers went missing.

However, on this timeline, all the men should have finished their 14-day isolation by early November. Acting Superintendent Blanchfield explained they had started quarantine on different dates, but did not say how this was allowed or why.


Police would not say whether all six had been interviewed.

The initial search for Mr Rivers was called off on October 24 but resumed five days later near Wilson River after police received new information.

Nothing was discovered by SES, police, helicopter, local property workers or the station managers’ gyrocopter and the last of the searchers went home on October 31.

Only family members remained, supported by crowdfunding and the generosity of Cunnamulla businesses.

Family members are all that remain of the Jeremiah Rivers search party.

Family members are all that remain of the Jeremiah Rivers search party.

The mystery has drawn investigators from three states, including homicide detectives, and is being treated as suspicious.

Mr Rivers, about 185 centimetres tall, has a tattoo of a cross under his right arm.

Police want anyone who believed they had seen the group in western NSW or Queensland to come forward.

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