Body in bag: Police seek new clues in cold case
TWEED-BYRON police have renewed calls for public help to solve the mystery of an unidentified man whose body was found washed up inside a bag on the bank of the Tweed River four years ago.
The "extremely” decomposed corpse was discovered by a local fisherman inside a distinctive custom-made, plaid-patterned bag made of Indian cotton, near Tumbulgum at about 7pm on November 24, 2012.
Crime manager Brendon Cullen said at the time, the bag and its human remains were forensically examined, revealing the man was aged between 50 and 70 years.
However, the man's identity and cause of death remain unknown.
"We want resolution to this as much as the community and the man's family wants it too, whoever they may be,” Detective Chief Inspector Cullen said.
"The problem we've got here is we just don't know who this person is.
"If we knew who this person was it would lead us to, hopefully, how they got there and what caused their death.”
Police renewed their calls for public assistance to help solve this cold case, in the wake of National Missing Person's Week marked across Australia last week.
Det Insp Cullen said the man was Caucasian, about 163cm tall, with a thin build, shoulder length grey hair in a pony tail, and wearing blue underwear with an orange band.
Forensic testing showed the body may have been decomposing in the water for at least two weeks before it was found on the western bank of the Tweed River, near the intersection of Dulguigan and McAuleys Rds.
"It's very difficult to pin-point the time of death, given it was warmish at that time of year and there were a lot of factors that could have affected the decomposition of the body,” Det Insp Cullen.
The man's description did not match any Missing Person's description and his DNA had not been captured by NSW police, so facial recognition technology, based on DNA, may be used in the future.
"It's very rarely used but it exists out there and it works to varying degrees of success,” Det Ins Cullen said.
Det Insp Cullen said vital clues lay in the bag holding the man's remains.
"I wouldn't call it a sleeping bag as such, it is a bag, it was Indian plaid - that is the description of design,” Det Insp Cullen said.
"It was clearly home-made, not something that was mass produced, and at only about 165cm long it wasn't a very long bag, so someone must have made it. Someone must have had that material.
"We're appealing to whoever did make that, or knows anything about it, to come forward.”