Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Tojo WANDARAGAH

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Tojo WANDARAGAH

Delivered on : 13 May 2020

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Vicker

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : Mr Wandaragah’s disappearance on 27 March 1991 was reported by residents of Panadanus Park Community. There was an alleged sighting of him on 28 March 1991 in Derby. This caused the police to cease making enquiries until on 2 April 1991 when he was again reported missing by his brother. Extensive land searches by the police and State Emergency Services failed to confirm any sighting or find any trace of Mr Wandaragah.

Local police officers patrolled Derby and questioned local residents as to whether Mr Wandaragah had come into town. The SES coordinator was contacted and advised to be on standby as it may be necessary to implement a land search. Enquiries were conducted at Wunjum community, Fitzroy Crossing, Broome, Derby and Panandus Park. Tracks were located leading away from Panandus Park and indicated Mr Wandaragah walked towards the highway but had not conclusively reached the highway. There was confused information Mr Wandaragah may have been picked up but later enquiries indicated this was probably when Mr Wandaragah was dropped back at Panandus Park Community after being into town at an earlier time.

On 2 April 1991 the SES was re-activated with the police and aboriginal trackers leaving Derby for Pandanus Park community. Police attended One Mile Community where Mr Wandaragah had been reported, but was not present. The land search continued and enquiries were made, but no trace of Mr Wandaragah was found nor was any further information provided.

The Coroner was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt Mr Wandaragah is deceased with the most likely explanation for his disappearance is that he wandered into the bush around Panadanus Park Community in an intoxicated state. The Coroner was unable to determine how the deceased died and made an Open Finding as to the manner of Mr Wandaragah’s death.

Catch Words : Long Term Missing Person : Open Finding

Last updated: 18-Jun-2020

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