Police hope car seat covers hold clue to Brisbane man’s suspicious death

Wayne Youngkin’s remains were discovered with the distinctive covers in a septic tank 30 years after he disappeared

Police hope car seat covers hold clue to Brisbane man's suspicious death
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Wayne James Youngkin, 29, went missing in 1986. His remains were found in Brighton, Brisbane in November 2016.
Photograph: Queensland Police

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This article titled “Police hope car seat covers hold clue to Brisbane man’s suspicious death” was written by Joshua Robertson, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 24th January 2017 07.51 UTC

Investigators hope that car seat covers found with the remains of a Brisbane man discovered at his former home 30 years after he disappeared hold clues that unlock the mystery of his death.

Police released images of the seat covers found with the bones of Wayne Youngkin in an old septic tank at a property in Brighton, in the city’s north, in November along with an appeal for public information.

They also called for two people who came forward last year with specific details about Youngkin’s disappearance, one in a handwritten note delivered to a police station, to contact them again to assist with inquiries.

Acting superintendent Mick Dowie said police hoped the car seat covers, thought to be a matching pair with “distinctive striped marking” and the subject of lengthy forensic examinations, could trigger recollections from members of the public that could prove vital in the investigation of a suspicious death.

Queensland police are hoping to speak to anyone with information regarding two car seat covers found alongside the remains of Wayne Youngkin in a disused septic tank in Brisbane in November.
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Queensland police are hoping to speak to anyone with information regarding two car seat covers found alongside the remains of Wayne Youngkin.

Police are yet to identify a cause of death for Youngkin, who was well known in the local area when he went missing, aged 29, in 1986.

Youngkin’s friend Leny Hoeksema has organised fundraising efforts to hold a memorial or burial when his remains are released.

Hoeksema, who said he understood there was only one close relative of Youngkin’s still alive, said he lived with his grandmother at the time of his disappearance.

“We all grew up together and Brighton was like its own little community back then. Everyone knew everyone in the area. Wayne used to come and watch the Gaters play, the rugby league side I played in.

“We used to play cricket with him, he had a little cricket pitch beside his house. He was a funny guy, mate, he’d try and make people laugh.

“You just didn’t expect this to happen. He just went missing one day and no one knew where he was.”

Dowie said it may take people “a bit of time to come to that realisation that perhaps they may have that information” that is useful to police, however minor they thought it may be.

“It’s important they don’t always think that police have that information,” he said.

Detectives could ensure they could meet “anonymously” with any informants “in a circumstance that they feel comfortable in and that will allow us to progress those matters as best we can”, Dowie said.

He said the process of “identifying exactly who may be responsible for the death of Mr Youngkin” would likely take a number of months, he said.

“We’ve got a number of inquiries on people we still have to talk to,” he said.

Dowie said the clues offered so far showed there was “a lot of knowledge in the community in relation to Mr Youngkin and his activities”.

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