The Gympie ‘missing persons’ cases that are still a mystery
A MISSING father, a man believed dead but with no trace of a body ever found and a vanished 35-year-old; these are the missing persons cases from the Gympie region that continue to baffle authorities.
Of the more than 450 missing people registered across Australia, only four missing persons officially remain outstanding in the Gympie region.
The oldest open case is that of Lawrence Phillips who was last seen on June 11, 1987.
Police say he was last seen after parking his vehicle at the “Somerset View lookout, Gympie”.
Mr Phillips had dark hair, blue eyes and was 185cm tall, and would now be 63 years old.
A coronial inquest into Mr Phillips’ disappearance in 1994 returned an open finding, and there is no suggestion of foul play.
Martin Cowen has been officially declared dead.
He vanished on July 31, 2005. The last known trace found by police was his bicycle, parked beside bushland near his Gympie home.
He last spoke with family on that same date.
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In 2009, the state coroner found Mr Cowen was deceased but no further information has surfaced since and no official explanation has been given. No body has ever been found.
Police said last year the investigation would remain open until Mr Cowen’s remains were found.
The most recent unsolved disappearance in the region is still more than a decade old.
Gympie father Jason Hazelgrove went missing in an early July 2010 morning after being dropped off at a Lawrence St address by his brother.
The 38-year-old was last seen by his family at 6pm on July 13, but he was reported seen walking near the intersection of Tin Can Bay and Randwick roads about 2am on July 14.
His mother said at the time of his disappearance Mr Hazelgrove was trying to turn his life around after a stint in jail.
His disappearance has been described as out of character.
Mr Hazelgrove would now be 48 years old.
The most recent disappearance of a Gympie resident was outside the region; 36-year-old Kenneth “Sammy” Gallaher disappeared in 2015 after leaving Queensland for Victoria.
In November 2016, a coroner’s investigation found it most likely Mr Gallagher drowned near a popular fishing spot on Port Phillip Bay in July 2015.
The family of the 179cm tall Mr Gallaher, who is of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander appearance and was once touted as an upcoming and talented amateur boxer, have not given up hope though.
They are still calling for anyone with information to come forward.
If you have information that may assist police to locate any of these people please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.