News State Queensland Bad weather forces halt to latest search for Qld murder victims missing since 1993

Bad weather forces halt to latest search for Qld murder victims missing since 1993

Derek Van Der Poel (left) and Robert Grayson were last seen minding a marijuana crop in 1993. Qld Police
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A search for two men allegedly killed almost 25 years ago has been suspended indefinitely due to bad weather.

Robert Grayson and Derek Van Der Poel were last seen alive in the central Queensland town of Gladstone in May 1993.

They were not reported missing until August 8, 1994.

The pair – aged 26 and 23 at the time – had been minding marijuana crops for Russell James Williams, who was charged in late January with their murders.

A group of 60 SES volunteers, 10 police officers and a cadaver dog spent the past two days scouring a section of the ruuged Kroombit Tops National Park in the hunt for Mr Grayson and Mr Van Der Poel’s bodies.

But it was called off on Sunday due to bad weather, with a date for when it would resume yet to be set.

Police this week said its investigation had identified several people of interest in the case but refused to elaborate on what roles they might have played in the men’s disappearance.

Williams, who is also facing a drug-production charge,appeared in  Gladstone Magistrates Court on Tuesday and the matter was adjourned to April 10.

He was charged with two counts of murder and drug production.
A $250,000 reward remains in place for more information.

Detective Inspector Darrin Shadlow said there had been several public appeals since then, generating a number of strong leads.

“Today’s arrest is significant and a testament to the exhaustive efforts of investigations, however our investigation is not over yet,” he said.

Inspector Shadlow said the arrest was the culmination of dogged detective work.

“It just goes to show the tenacity of investigators involved in this,” he said.

“We’ve got a group of dedicated detectives in Gladstone here as well as the assistance from the homicide investigation group at our Crime Command in Brisbane.

“They’ve been working doggedly on this for a number of months, revisiting a number of people, revisiting statements, revisiting all the evidence we have in relation to it.”

Mr Grayson’s father, Victor Grayson, said police informed him of the arrest this morning.

He said he had always held out hope someone would be held responsible for his son’s death.

“Every now and then they come and they open up [the case] and they have another look at it,” he said.

“This time, it looks like they’ve hit dirt.”

-AAP with ABC