Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Joseph Wellard HIGGS

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Joseph Wellard HIGGS

Delivered on : 13 November 2019

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Vicker

Recommendations : N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : On 25 May 1986 a vehicle was located south of Menzies which was known to belong to Mr Higgs, he was not with the vehicle. The vehicle was reported to the Menzies Police and they commenced a search for Mr Higgs, but he was never seen again.

On 21 May 1986 mail and a newspaper was left at Mr Higgs’ cottage at Goongarrie at 7.00 am and his Mazda utility was observed at the cottage. On the following day the Mazda utility was noted not to be at the cottage and it was not reported as being seen again until discovered on the unsealed road east of Davyhurst on 25 May 1986. Police were advised at 7.40 pm and an investigation commenced into the disappearance of Mr Higgs.

Police conducted a search including local Aboriginal trackers. They left Menzies and travelled to Goongarrie to again search the cottage and the vicinity without success. The search to locate Mr Higgs was unsuccessful. Similarly the Davyhurst area was searched without Mr Higgs being located. A helicopter search was organised on the afternoon of 27 may 1986 and searched an area with a radius of 2 kilometres from the Mazda utility in a zig-zag formation without Mr Higgs or any other person being sighted. A full State Emergency Services search was then organised for 28 May 1986. Despite intensive searching Mr Higgs has not been located.

The Coroner was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt Mr Higgs is deceased and died somewhere in the vicinity of Davyhurst or between Davyhurst and Goongarrie in a timeframe between the 20 and 28 May 19986. The Coroner was unable to determine how the deceased died and made an Open Finding as to the manner of Mr Higg’s death.

Catch Words : Long Term Missing Person : Land and Air Search : Open Finding


Last updated: 13-Jul-2020

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