THE children of Don Mackay have been left devastated after police yesterday called off a search for their father’s remains, closing another chapter in Griffith’s most enduring mystery.
Following the largest search for Mr Mackay’s final resting place, police this week conceded they had reached undisturbed ground at the suspected burial site on a Hay lettuce farm.
In a written statement, Mr Mackay’s three children no longer living in Griffith – Ruth Fletcher, Mary Mackay and James Mackay – said they were disappointed they were unable to give their father a “dignified burial”.
“Our fervent hope was that we may have been able to finally know where our father’s remains were and that 36 years on, we could have given Dad a dignified burial. Sadly, that was not to be,” the statement read.
They thanked search teams – who spent two weeks working from dawn to dusk at the site – and investigators for their ongoing fight for justice.
“We are very grateful to the members of the dedicated search team ... and although media attention can at times be upsetting, we are also grateful to those professional journalists who have tirelessly reported the story of Dad’s murder throughout their careers, continually bringing it to the public’s attention,” they said.
“We would also like to pay tribute to the many officers of the NSW Police, Victoria Police and Australian Federal Police, along with investigators from the Australian Crime Commission, who have never given up on trying to resolve this case over three and a half decades.”
Speaking exclusively to The Area News, sister publication of The Daily Adveritser, Mr Mackay’s Griffith-based son Paul said he was despondent but relieved.
“It’s naturally disappointing but it’s been a stressful couple of weeks,” he said. “We’ve been down this path before, but this was the most extensive search I can remember.
“I appreciate all the work and continued dedication of police in trying to solve the matter.”
Police confirmed they had found “a number of items” at the site that corroborated an anonymous tip-off they received in late 2011.
The search is believed to have cost more than $120,000 but Griffith Police commander Michael Rowan said he was comfortable with the level of resources utilised.
“While we haven’t found any remains, I’m very comfortable with why we were here and I’m still confident the information we received was credible and couldn’t be discounted,” Superintendent Rowan said.
“Given the same circumstances, we would do the same again.” – The Area News
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