Thursday, June 20, 2024

$500,000 reward offered in 1982 murder case

Detectives from Townsville Criminal Investigation Branch are hopeful that a $500,000 reward will bring in new information to assist investigations into the murder of Anthony Jones at Hughenden, west of Townsville, in 1982.

Twenty-year-old Anthony Jones (pictured), known as Tony, was last seen on or about 12 November 1982 in the small township of Hughenden.

He last spoke with family at approximately 8:50pm on November 3, advising them he planned to hitchhike from Townsville to Mount Isa.

Investigations identified that the phone call came from a telephone box at Bowen Road in Townsville.

Tony failed to arrive to Mount Isa as planned and has not been heard from since.

Police have identified multiple witnesses that can place Tony as being in Hughenden on November 12, where it is believed he attended the Grand Hotel that evening.

Investigations indicate Tony may have been involved in an altercation at the hotel that night, prior to his disappearance.

On 19 January 1983 police received a handwritten letter under the name ‘Lochiel’ postmarked from Cairns, indicating Tony may have been buried in the Fullerton River.

The following day an extensive search of the area commenced and was cleared without any items of interest being located.

Over the following years, police investigations included approximately 60 statements and 270 inquiries completed by investigators.

A number of persons of interest have been investigated, and numerous land-based searches conducted in areas including the Fullerton River, Cloncurry River and Hughenden Slaughter yards.

At the time of his disappearance, Tony was carrying a Voerre .22 calibre rifle with serial number 257435, a large blue backpack with aluminium framing and green sleeping bag, a green one-man tent, along with various personal items such as toiletries. None of these items have ever been recovered.

In 2002, the Coroner ruled that Anthony Jones was deceased and had died at the hands of a person or persons unknown. Investigators believe Tony has been murdered.

In 1983, a $20,000 reward was offered as part of the ongoing investigation. In 1990, this was updated to $50,000. In 2004, it was further updated to $250,000.

In 2010, the inquest was reopened by the Attorney General, commencing in 2016 and concluding in 2017, with a date to be advised for the delivery of the Coroner’s findings.

With active investigations underway, detectives from Townsville Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) have increased the reward on offer to $500,000.

Detectives will be conducting further investigations in Hughenden on Saturday October 14 and Sunday October 15, and urge any community members with information to come forward.

Detective Sergeant Brenden Stevenson of Townsville CIB said police are confident someone out there has the information needed for the matter to be solved.

“More than 40 years has passed now and in that time loyalties change, any information no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, could be the key to bringing closure for Tony’s family,” Detective Sergeant Stevenson said.

“If you were in Hughenden or at the Grand Hotel on the 12th of November in 1982, you may have seen something that could be crucial to this investigation, it is never too late to come forward.

“We are also urging anyone with any information at to the whereabouts of Tony’s rifle, or the identity of the person who posted police the letter from Cairns in 1983, to please contact police.”

The $500,000 Queensland Government Reward is for information which leads to the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this murder. The Government reward further offers an opportunity for indemnity against prosecution for any accomplice, not being the person who actually committed the murder, who first gives such information.

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