The disappearance and search for missing person Jason Neil Richards has been declared a Major Crime.
Police hold grave fears for the safety of Mr Richards who’s family have not heard from him since he sent them a text message from Coober Pedy on the 20th June.
Major Crime Investigation Branch will be taking over the coordinating role of the investigation together with Detectives from the Far North Local Service Area.
Senior Sergeant David Kennedy Acting Operations Manager Far North said today, “we are not sure what’s going on at the moment, but ‘major crime’ will give us more resources”.
Mr Richards was travelling to Victoria to celebrate his 29th birthday with his family. He is believed to have left Darwin on Monday 20 June 2011, travelling through South Australia and, heading to Victoria driving a navy blue 1991 Toyota Hilux Ute, Victoria registration ODV 747.
The vehicle has a distinctive metal dog cage attached to the rear of the vehicle. Mr Richards is believed to have a dog in his possession named Amy..
The trailer Jason Richards was towing carried a four metre aluminium boat which was believed to have been recently purchased in Darwin.
Mr Richards last had contact with relatives on Monday 20 June 2011 who believed he was spending that night in Coober Pedy. He hasn’t used his bank accounts since that date.
The NT News reported: “Jason Neil Richards, 28, was working as a glazier in the Top End for three months and was due in Ballarat late last week”.
A boat and trailer that may have been recently purchased by Mr Richards was located on 24 June 2011 abandoned off the Stuart Highway at Pimba in the states north. The boat was partially burnt out.
Police, including Star group and Air wing with the assistance of local SES personnel have conducted an extensive ground and air search of the area where the boat was located but haven’t been able to locate Mr Richards, his dog or the Hilux Ute.
Police ask that anyone who has any information on the following to contact the police assistance line on 131 444 or BankSA Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at www.sa.crimestoppers.com.au
Police are appealing for the following information –
• The current whereabouts of Mr Richards
• Any sightings of his vehicle on the road either towing the boat or not
• Any sightings of the dog
• Any information on the ownership history of the boat depicted in photo.