Renewed appeal to find missing man as police utilise high-tech drones – Western Region

Police have renewed their appeal for help from the public to find a man reported missing from Western NSW nearly two years ago.

In March 2022, detectives attached to Orana Mid-Western Police District established Strike Force Yurinigh to investigate the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of James Hunter.

James, who was 52 at the time he was last seen, lived in the Newcastle suburb of Tighes Hill and travelled to the state’s west for work including to rural properties at Dubbo, Mendooran and Dunedoo. He was also known to frequent Walgett and Lightning Ridge.

He maintained contact with family members, who last saw him in person in December 2019, when he was in the Newcastle area.

After failing to make contact with his family for several months, James was reported missing to police in July 2021.

Officers from Orana Mid-Western Police District commenced numerous inquiries and have conducted searches for James since that time; however he has not been located.

Inquiries have established James was last seen at a pharmacy on Macquarie Street in Dubbo on Friday 28 February 2020, but he has not accessed his bank accounts since then.

On Friday (22 March 2024) and Saturday (23 March 2024), 1700ha north-west of Mendooran was searched with the use of high-tech drones that carried out 52 flights.

Investigators with the use of technology will commence processing the 33,000 high resolution images captured.

In March 2022, his vehicle – a blue 2005-model Toyota Hilux ute was located on a property he was working at in Mendooran, and it was seized for forensic examination.

Police and family continue to hold concerns for James’ welfare, and are renewing their appeal to the community to come forward with any information that may assist detectives with their ongoing investigations.

James is described as being Caucasian in appearance, about 175cm tall, of a medium build with brown hair and eyes.

Anyone who has information in relation to James’ whereabouts or of relevance to the investigation is urged to contact Dubbo Police Station on 02 6883 1599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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