Transcript: 86. The Disappearance of Tony Jones | Australia

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Australia in the early 1980s was a great place to go backpacking. Pristine beaches, vibrant beaches and laid-back Aussie lifestyle lured countless young people to its shores. It was the era of The Thorn Birds, Men at Work, Olivia Newton-John, a period that gave inspiration for the creation of Crocodile Dundee…

It was safe to travel around the vast country and groups of young friends made their way around in cars, by buses or trains as well as hitching rides whenever they could.

In May 1982, 20-year-old Tony Jones did what many young Australians did – he rounded up a couple of mates and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. Instead of heading off to Europe or America, he decided to backpack his way through Australia. He took the anti-clockwise route from Perth heading to Adelaide. Then he touched base in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney before arriving in Brisbane in September. By this time his friends decided to head back to Perth, but Tony wasn’t quite done yet.

His 22-year-old brother Tim was on an adventure of his own, cycling across the country. The brothers met up and travelled together. While Tim cycled, Tony hitchhiked. 

It was in the time before cell phones, social media and internet cafés, so to communicate, Tony and Tim called home using payphones and left messages for each other arranging when and where to meet up. 

It was working pretty well – the familiarity of a brother to keep you in check while having to freedom to explore in your one way - until Tony failed to show up at Mount Isa as the brothers had arranged. At first, Tim thought Tony was simply struggling to hitch a ride from Townsville. But after a couple of days had passed with no sign of Tony, he knew something must have happened to his little brother.

A backpacker lost in the Australian outback is not easy to find. And in 1982 there were even more challenges than there would be today. The Jones family have been relentless in their search for Tony. Today, almost forty years later, they seem closer to finding answers than ever. What happened to Tony Jones?

>> Intro Music

Anthony John Jones, or Tony as his family called him, was born on the 3rd of July 1962 in Perth, Western Australia. He was the youngest of seven children and the family was close; dad Kevin and mom Beres always keeping a close eye on all of them. No matter where they were or what they did, the Jones kids regularly called home to check in.

When Tony was seven years old, he went missing from his family home. His parents and siblings searched everywhere and eventually found his unconscious little body locked in a disused fridge in the garage. It was a terrible accident and fortunately Tony was okay. Since that day the whole family was diligent in letting each other knew where they were at any given time. Every year they remembered the day when Tony nearly lost his life and gave thanks that things turned out allright.

Tony’s family described him as ‘gentle’ and ‘cheeky’. He had an insatiable sense of adventure and always wanted to travel. He loved spending time with Natalie Morris, his childhood sweetheart. When Tony told her about an extended trip, she understood all too well that he wasn’t trying to get away from her. That wasn’t the case at all. Tony was simply listening to the call of the open road. He promised he would call her as often as he could and that he would be back before Christmas. 

Six months into the trip, after visiting all of Australia’s big cities, Tony and his brother Tim started making their way back to Perth via the Top End.

The Jones brothers met up in Mackay, then Airlie Beach (on the Great Barrier Reef) before spending some time in Townsville, far-north Queensland. In Townsville the Jones brothers shared a trailer with other travellers at Sun City Caravan Park in Rosslea.

The plan was to make their way to Mount Isa from there – a 435 mile trip inland. It’s on the way to Perth and the brothers were positive that they would make it home for Christmas. Tim went ahead and they arranged that Tony would meet up with him in Mount Isa a week later.

By Tony’s calculations, if he got lucky with a ride, it wouldn’t have taken more than two days hitchhiking to get to Mount Isa, so he decided to go to Cairns first. He left Townsville on Thursday October 28th. 

By all accounts he had a good time in Cairns, but when he was ready to leave, he struggled finding a lift back to Townsville. He was also running out of money and had to sleep out on the beach for a couple of nights, hoping the next day would bring him someone who was prepared to take him along on a four-hour ride back to Townsville.

He finally returned to Sun City Caravan Park on Wednesday the 3rd of November, where he touched base with some travellers he’d met the week before. He knew Tim was expecting him in Mount Isa the following day, so he went to a phone booth on the corner of Bowen Road, near the caravan park around 7:30pm to call home. 

Tony was surprised to learn that his brother was already in Mount Isa and waiting for him.   Tim had informed them that he was strapped for cash and was hoping Tony would arrive soon. Tony went into the bank almost daily, drawing small amounts, less than $10, just to see him and sometimes Tim through the day. Their mother, Beres Jones, had deposited $150 into Tony’s account for the brothers to share and Tony promised he would catch up with his brother as soon as he could.

This was the last conversation his family ever had with Tony. He also called Natalie and seemed upbeat and excited about being home for Christmas. 

When he was not seen around Townsville again, fellow travellers at the caravan park assumed that he had left for Mount Isa that night. Tony was never heard from or seen again. 

Tim estimated that it would take Tony a day or two to make his way to Mount Isa, so when he didn’t show up after three days, he called the Jones family home in Perth to hear if he had left a message. Tim was worried because Tony was reliable, he would not have kept him waiting for so long, especially knowing that he needed money. Their mother called the bank and was told he never accessed the money she had paid into his account. At the time she made the deposit, Tony only had three dollars in his account, so he would not have wasted any time in making it to the bank.

Tony’s family called his girlfriend Natalie to hear if she had any news from Tony, but she didn’t. This was very unusual, because throughout his trip, Tony had been very diligent in calling her. At this point, they knew he was in trouble…

So the question beckoned: did Tony stay in Townsville on Wednesday night the 3rd of November with the intention of going the bank the following morning to withdraw the money before he left for Mount Isa? Or did he find a lift that same night and decided to go to the bank at his destination? The fact that Tim needed money, meant that Tony would have been in a hurry to get to him in Mount Isa, so if someone offered him a lift, he probably would have jumped at the opportunity rather than wait for the bank to open the following day. 

Tony’s family called Townsville police to report him missing, but were struggling to get through to the right person. The fact that he was a 20-year-old, male backpacker made police believe that he was safe and that his absence could be attributed to miscommunication. They believed Tony would resurface soon enough, so nothing much was done about it. 

But Tony’s family knew something wasn’t right and decided to take the three-day journey from Perth to Townsville to look for him. When they arrived in Townsville, they went to the police station to make an official missing person’s report. By this time, it had been eight days since they had last spoken to him. 

A lot of valuable evidence and possible leads were missing because of this delay. The family felt from the get-go that police was not doing enough in searching for Tony. Police even told them to go home to Perth, as Tony was probably aiming to be home for Christmas. The Jones’s knew that this was not the case. So they took it upon themselves to canvas the area where Tony was last seen and knocked on doors with a photo of Tony and asked if anyone had any information. The family’s door-to-door canvassing took place without ANY assistance from police. I talking to locals, it was a shock to learn how many people went missing in the outback. They had to come to terms with the fact that, with every passing day, chances of ever finding Tony alive, were dwindling.

Consider that in 2018, the Australian Federal Police were dealing with 2,600 unsolved missing persons cases. An average 38,000 people are reported missing in Australia every year. 98% of missing persons end up being found, the other two per cent is not so lucky. Back in 1982, seaching for Tony in the expansive outback was close to impossible.

All of the Jones family members and his girlfriend Natalie decided to write down the details of their last conversations with Tony. Perhaps there were clues in something he had said. His brother Mark recalled that Tony mentioned that lifts were hard to come by and it took him much longer to get back to Townsville from Cairns than he had anticipated. He also told his brother to make sure his room was ready and waiting when he arrived back in Perth.

The family could not find any sign of Tony in Townsville, which made them believe he may have left soon after the last phone call. Flinders Highway between Townsville and Mount Isa did not have the best history… It was also known as the “Highway of Death” because of the high amount of strange cases that occurred along the way.

The first recorded murders were in 1970 when 7-year-old Judith MacKay and her 5-year-old sister Susan were raped and stabbed to death at Antill Plains Creek. Their bodies were found on a dried-out riverbed 25km southwest of Townsville. The lead detective in the case vowed that he would not go home until they had a suspect. He spent day and night at the police station, and questioning everyone around town, feverishly looking for answers. It took its toll and he died of a heart attack two weeks later.

Teenage friends Robin Hoinville-Bartram and Anita Cunningham disappeared along the highway in 1972. Robin’s body was discovered under a rail bridge at Sensible Creek, multiple bullet holes to the head. Anita had never been found and remains a missing person to this day.

In 1975 Catherine Graham’s body was found at the same location as Judith and Susan McKay, a 500m away from the exact spot. Police did not have much evidence to go on and the killer remained free.

Then Tony disappeared. As in the other cases, police had no idea who could have taken him. Two months after he was last seen, police received a letter signed simply ‘Lochiel’ and posted from Cairns. It read:

"I believe body of AJ Jones buried in or near Fullarton River bed within 100 yds southside Flinders Hwy. Lochiel”

The handwritten note was scribbled and first wrote that the body was 100 yards west of the highway, but the word ‘west’ was scratched out and corrected to be southside. Police searched the area between Cloncurry and Julia Creek for two days, but could not find anything. They concluded that the so-called ‘Lochiel letter’ was a hoax. 

It is significant to note that it was sent from Cairns, the last place Tony visited before returning to Townsville, days before he vanished. Tony’s family also wondered how the writer knew Tony’s initials as it was never made public. 

After six months had passed and there was still no sign of Tony, police had to concede that he was probably no longer alive. A $20,000 reward was offered for information that would lead them to Tony. By this time, the general assumption was that he had met with foul play and police investigated his case as a homicide.

Although the investigation into Tony’s disappearance was not making any headway, his family never stopped looking for him. They checked in with Townsville police often and shared any information they found along the way. 

Tony’s disappearance was widely publicized and the whole country followed the case over the years. In 1987 his brother Brian’s book called ‘Searching for Tony’ was published, detailing the family’s search for answers. Brian was also the driving force behind Australia’s National Missing Persons week, inspired by the disappearance of his little brother. Missing Persons week is held annually during the first week of August and gives families of missing persons the opportunity to keep their loved ones’ stories in the media. It was at a memorial service for Tony in Townsville in 1988 that the very first Missing Person’s Week was launched.

Sadly, Beres Jones, Tony’s mother, passed away in 1990 eight years after he vanished, without ever knowing what happened to her son. Her family says she was absolutely heartbroken about Tony’s disappearance, to her dying day.

10 years after his disappearance in 1992, police released the identikit of a possible suspect. A witness told police that he had seen Tony at the Rising Sun Hotel in Townsville with this person. The unidentified man had offered Tony a place to stay the night. The suspect bore an uncanny resemblance to former police superintendent Mervyn Stevenson, who retired from the force a year before Tony’s disappearance. He retired under a cloud of suspicion regarding corruption and misconduct.

Stevenson’s name came up during the 2001 inquest, but only to confirm that he was never questioned with regards to Tony’s disappearance. He also died in 2001, so the opportunity to question him was lost forever.

A second sketch was done, that did not quite resemble the first one. In the second one, the man has a square jawline, as opposed to the pointed, oval shape of the first sketch. Some leads came in, but none were strong enough to eventuate in an arrest. 

Two names that kept surfacing after the second sketch was released. Local men going by the names ‘Pickering and Douglas’ were pointed out as persons of interest. But by the time police followed up – seven years after the first tip – neither of them was alive.

But things were not really moving along in the investigation. It would take six more years, six years during which investigators were re-assigned and new investigators had to start from scratch. But the Jones family refused to give up.

The Jones family took it upon themselves to interview people, always hoping to find the truth. A retired grazier (that is a local term for a cattle farmer) from Cloncurry – a town about an hour and a half’s drive east of Tony’s intended destination of Mount Isa had intriguing information. He said that shortly after Tony’s disappearance, he was with a friend, a retired police officer, when they found abandoned camping gear at a location just outside of town. Among the things was a letter from Tony’s mom. The ground was disturbed in way that they thought there had been a scuffle (or that a body had been dragged through the dirt). The farmer said they handed the items in to police and told them about the scene, but it was never followed up on. 

The Jones family asked the retired farmer if he would inform the coroner about this evidence. There was no trace of it in the case file, so the coroner ordered an excavation of the campsite where Tony’s belongings were found some 20 years before. Sadly, the search party of eight police officers together with four volunteers from State Emergency Service (or SES) could not find anything that connected the site to Tony Jones. In the time since the farmer and the cop found the evidence, the area had been ravaged by multiple bushfires and floods. If there was any evidence, it would have been destroyed in the passage of 20 years.

At the coronial inquest in February 2002 – twenty years after Tony vanished – coroner Ian Fischer concluded that Tony was the victim of a homicide, despite the fact that his body was never found. Coroner Fischer said: 

“I am satisfied that the missing person is dead," wrote the coroner. "I find that he died on or around the 3rd of November 1982 at the hands of a person or persons unknown.”

After the inquest, Tony’s brother Tim addressed the media and said:

"Either Tony got a lift as far as Cloncurry that night and decided to pitch his tent on the outskirts of town, or he came to grief earlier and this person had some belongings and he was the one who pitched the tent."

In Queensland, a death certificate cannot be issued if the coroner is unable to determine the place of death. Because of this, although he was assumed dead, Tony had not been declared deceased until 2006, when Queensland Minister of Justice changed legislation because she felt that the Jones family had suffered enough and a death certificate would at least give a very small amount of closure in one of the country’s most baffling unsolved cases.

In February 2008, Queensland prisons received decks of cold case playing cards, so inmates could use them during leisure time. The hope was that someone could have information about unsolved cases. Tony’s information was printed on the two of spades, with the increased reward of $250,000 offered.

After the inquest documents were released to the Jones family, they poured over it, reading and re-reading every single detail. It didn’t take them long to find a couple of leads that had never been properly explored by Queensland police. The family requested that the case be reopened, but did not receive a response. They petitioned Attorney General Cameron Dick and had to wait for more than a year to get an answer.

In September 2010, Queensland launched a campaign ‘walk a day in my shoes’, an attempt to get more support at the polls. Tony’s brother, Brian Jones, sent the Attorney General a pair of Tony’s shoes and challenged him to ‘walk a day in the shoes’ of a crime victim. The very next day the Jones family heard the news that the case had been reopened.

The renewed investigation was also riddled with problems. Investigators were re-assigned and a new team had to start from scratch – yet again. 

Investigators homed in on one detail… Tony carried a firearm in his backpack when he disappeared. The dismantled .22 calibre Voere rifle (serial number 257435) with a dark red stock has never been found. They felt that if they could locate the weapon; it would lead them to Tony’s killer. 

However, in the early days of the investigation, pictures released to the media asking for information were of another type of rifle. A chance to get information from the public was blown. Despite this, a man did come forward and said that he had been given a rifle by his brother-in-law – a person of interest in the investigation. Officers mistakenly showed him the wrong picture yet again and the witness said that he didn’t recognise the firearm. Because of this, the statement was thrown out. 

Officers working on the re-opened case were tasked with finding the missing evidence, including the evidence given by the grazier from Cloncurry, but never found anything.

In October 2011 an ex-convict came forward and told police that during his time in Townsville Correctional Centre his cell mate told him that he ‘did a bloke out near Mount Isa’. 

Following up on prison records, investigators found the name of the cell mate: Michael James Laundess. They located him in Perth – by that time he was 53-years old. But they never spoke to him. A year before the second inquest took place, he passed away. The only suspect they had did not live to explain the alleged comments he made to his cell mate in prison in Townsville.

On the 8th of February 2014, Senior Sergeant John Mahony released information to the public that there was new, “fresh and credible” information that linked Tony to a specific town. Within the same week a team of investigators arrived to question local residents. 

Hughenden is a small cattle and sheep town in North Queensland with just about a thousand residents. It is more or less halfway between Townsville and Mount Isa on the A6 Flinders Highway.

Rumours were doing the rounds in Hughenden, saying that Tony was killed near the town and his remains were burnt and then strewn over a large area. Police could not ignore this, seeing as information from as far back as 1983 linked Tony to the town. Multiple witnesses came forward, saying they saw a young hitchhiker fitting Tony’s description in Hughenden between 12 and 14 November, ten days after he was last seen. 

There was an issue of inconsistency regarding the identity of the hitchhiker, however. One witness said that he thought the young man was from Aboriginal descent, while another felt that he was Italian. Tony had a fair complexion.

One woman, a credible witness, remembered seeing him at the Grand Hotel on 12 November around 8pm. She described him as having an ‘Abraham Lincoln style’ beard, as can be seen on the photo of Tony on missing persons’ flyers. However, police were informed that Tony had shaved his beard shortly before his disappearance and concluded that the man seen in Hughenden could not have been Tony. 

These inconsistencies were enough to make investigators abandon the Hughenden thread of the investigation back in the 80s. However, more witnesses came forward after the first inquest and the second inquest in 2010 heard that Tony possibly met his demise in Hughenden. 

Sadly, the 2010 inquest had to be halted halfway through, when lawyers realised that it was being heard under the antiquated 1956 Coroner’s Act as opposed to the revised legislation of 2003. If the whole inquest was heard under the disused Act, it could be problematic in future criminal prosecution. 

But at least the information about Hughenden gave investigators something to work with. 

Two men, who lived in the area around the time of Tony’s disappearance were at the forefront of the investigation. By 2014, police were so confident about the new information, that after four days of local investigation, Detective Acting Superintendent Cheryl Scanlon announced that Tony Jones may have been killed in the town of Hughenden.

The two men suspected by police are Kevin Wright and Johnny Easthaughffe. They were childhood friends who grew up in the cattle town. In 1982 the teenaged Wright And Easthaughffe were known around town as big drinkers who loved picking fights. Wright was working as an apprentice butcher at his father’s slaughterhouse. Easthaughffe boarded at Townsville Grammar School, but his parents still resided in Hughenden, so he often made the trip home from Townsville to Hughenden.

An ex-girlfriend of Kevin Wright’s, Geri Stanfield, came forward in recent years and said that Wright had confessed to her when he was very drunk. She said Wright told her that when they were 17, Eastaughffe punched the young truck driver and broke his neck. A distraught Eastaughffe went to Wright’s house in the middle of the night and asked him for help. 

The pair then went to pick the trucker’s body up where Eastaughffe had left him, took the him to the slaughterhouse and cut his body up using a bandsaw. As part of Wright’s butcher training he was required to cut up animal carcasses and boil the meat off the bone in large copper pots before burning the bones in one of many firepits in the slaughter yard. Doing the same to a human body would not have been too difficult for him. 

When Kevin Wright found out that his ex-girlfriend had spoken to police, he forced her to retract the statement, otherwise he would kill her. Fearing for her own safety as well as the safety of her children, she complied.

But Hughenden police were about to receive another visit. This time, from Kevin Wright’s ex-partner of 18 years and mother of his children, Natalie Parker. Natalie told police that he often alluded to something sinister that took place when he was a teenager. She said Wright told her that he and “Johnny” had done things together that nobody would ever know about. Natalie knew they had done ‘something’ to a backpacker. Wright was hysterically drunk whenever he spoke about it. 

Natalie also painted the picture of Wright as a violent and dangerous man who often boasted that he could get away with murder. This is why she was reluctant to come forward at the time, she was fearing for her own life and did not want to leave her children without a mother.

Melissa Bell, a friend of Kevin Wright and Natalie Parker’s said that Wright broke down in the back of a taxi after a heavy night of drinking. He cried and said he had killed a hitchhiker with his friend Easthaughffe. She told Natalie about this and that is when she decided to go to the police. 

Most people who knew Wright and Eastaughffe said that Eastaughffe was the dominant one of the two and that Wright always went along with what he said, since they were kids. Whenever Wright confessed, he was drunk. He was clearly haunted by the memory, tormented, sometimes even rocking in the foetal position and crying.

Then there was yet another testimony, this one from Johnny Eastaughffe’s ex-wife, Jennifer Crisp. It took her more than 20 years for her to break her silence. She suffered severe domestic violence at the hands of her husband. He threatened her and said that if he killed her, he would get away with it. He was too smart; it would make sure he wouldn’t get caught. 

The witness testimonies did align for the most part, although there were some contradictions. Wright told Natalie Parker that Eastaughffe’s victim was a backpacker. He told Melissa Bell he was a hitchhiker and Geri Stanfield was told he was a truck driver. However, that isn’t enough to throw the alleged confessions out. Over the years Tony’s missing person’s case was very well publicised in the Hughenden area. Perhaps Wright needed to get it off his chest, but didn’t describe the victim as a backpacker, seeing as everyone would have known who it was immediately. He perhaps felt that Natalie, who was his partner for 18 years, would never turn on him. But after they split up and some time went by, she felt confident enough to do the right thing and tell police about his drunken confessions.

It was a fact that Easthaughffe boarded in Townsville at the time and frequently took the Flinders Highway home to Hughenden. It is very plausible that he gave Tony a lift from Townsville on the night of 3 November 1982. If something went wrong that caused Tony’s death, there was only one person he trusted enough to help him: Kevin Wright. The fact that Wright had experience in dismemberment and had access to the slaughter yards was convenient.  

Both Eastaughffe and Wright appealed to the Supreme Court in order to avoid giving evidence. They lost the appeal in 2016, before the scheduled inquest on August 2016 in Townsville.

At the inquest, Wright’s son Kayle testified that his father was drunk one night and that he told him he had done ‘something’. In a statement made two years before, the record stated that Kayle said his dad said he had done ‘something bad’ – in 2016 Kayle challenged that statement, saying he only ever said ‘something’ not ‘something bad’ and that police must have added the word ‘bad’. He also said that he was under the impression that his father was at ‘butcher school’ in Brisbane at the time of Tony’s disappearance.

But the Hughenden-thread of the investigation was not the only matter discussed at the 2016 inquest. Police incompetence was blamed for a botched investigation. The coroner stated that the investigating officer was uncooperative when he came knocking at his door many years later inquiring about missing evidence.

The Jones family found various leads that could have solved the case, had it been properly investigated at the time. Firstly, there was an unconfirmed story that Tony went to hospital in Townsville shortly before his disappearance, yet nobody ever interviewed hospital staff or even asked why he sought medical help (confirm)

The family also discovered that the dental records in Tony’s file, did not belong to Tony. Even if they had found his remains, they would not have been able to match it to Tony. Because the family provided records to police in the 1980s, before the digital era, there was no backup. Tony’s original dental records have never resurfaced, which means identifying his remains using this method will never be possible.

Police never followed up on alibi statements of key suspects. It was Tony’s family who managed to track down a former classmate of one of the suspects which blew a hole in the suspects alibi. 

The Jones family also requested DNA testing to be done on the ‘Lochiel Letter’ in recent years. At first police said that it had not been stored properly and a DNA profile could not be extracted. However, when the family insisted they tried again, police were forced to admit that they had lost the letter.

Another letter was mentioned in an internal police memo. Because this is an ongoing investigation, we could not reveal names and descriptions, but here is the gist of it:

“I have also received a letter from a retired grazier who has named a suspect by the name of (X) and I note that his history indicates he is most probably a (Y) and I consider that he should be interviewed. I have attached a copy of the letter.”

However, this letter and the ‘grazier’s statement were missing from the original inquest. The only remaining evidence is the memo, written by one of the officers on the homicide squad.

Coroner Fischer conceded that the investigation should have received more urgent attention during the early stages.

A royal Commission into police misconduct followed, eventuating in the conviction of police Commissioner at the time of Tony’s disappearance , Terry Lewis, for corruption. The inquest found that Queensland Police of the 1980s were QUOTE ‘debilitated by misconduct, inefficiency, incompetence and deficient leadership.’ END QUOTE

Of course, none of this would bring Tony back, but at least there was some recourse for what can – at best – be described as a neglectful investigation.

Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Lill, who was a part of the investigation for 15 years, tried to explain why police attitude regarding Tony’s case was so slack. He said this in a report to the coroner…

“Rightly or wrongly, missing persons over the age of sixteen years of age did not attract or command the deployment or availability of resources as they would have in this day and age.”

So if Wright and Eastaughffe were not involved in Tony’s disappearance, who was?

In 2014, a man came forward and claimed to be one of Australia’s most prolific serial killers. Andy Albury (also known as Australia’s Hannibal Lector) boasted to killing 14 people in the area between Townsville and Mount Isa between 1970 and 1983. He said that Tony Jones was one of his victims. At an inquest he stated that Tony…

“…will stay buried where I planted him.”

Albury was known to indulge in media attention and many people believed that he only confessed to Tony’s murder so he could be in the spotlight again. He struggled with mental illness and some of his confessions did not add up. For instance, if he was responsible for all the murders he claimed to have committed, he must have been 9-years-old when he started killing. Although he confessed to killing more than 12 hitchhikers, he could not give any information about the murders.

Of course, Australia has had its fair share of serial killers. In June 1987 German tourist, Joseph Swab went on a 10-day killing spree in the Top End of Australia, taking the lives of five people. His victims were usually in nature spots fishing or hiking and the attacks were random and heartless. Schwab was killed during a shoot-out with police and took his motive for the murders to the grave. 

Some people wondered if he could have been active around the Flinders Highway in earlier years. Could the ‘Kimberley Killer’ be one of Australia’s most prolific serial killers? Law enforcement was able to establish that Schwab, a German national, had lived in Adelaide, South Australia working as a cabinet maker between 1981 and 1984 – on the opposite side of the country. He went back to Germany and only returned in 1987, two months before his murderous rampage kicked off. They did not think it was plausible that Schwab had anything to do with Tony’s - or any of the other unsolved cases – in North Queensland.

Serial killer Ivan Milat only began his heinous career as a serial killer in the late 1980s and lived and worked in NSW, nowhere near the location where Tony was last seen. 

If you ask the Jones family, they believe that Kevin Wright and Johnny Eastaughffe are behind Tony’s murder and it’s a matter of time before they will be arrested. Wright lives in Townsville now and owns a concreting business. Eastaughffe also lives in Townsville and made it clear to Australia’s 60 Minutes that they are not friends anymore. Both men have denied the accusations of murder and claim they had nothing to do with Tony’s disappearance and death.

2018 the Jones family came forward and said that earlier suspicions about two men from Hughenden had been confirmed. They believed that Tony was offered a lift as far as Hughenden on the night of November 3rd with a group of young people. Something went wrong, resulting in Tony’s murder in an outback slaughterhouse and two of the men disposing of Tony’s body.

Tony’s dad is in his nineties and desperate to find out what happened to his son. If you have information that may assist police regarding Tony Jones please call Crime Stoppers (Australia) on 1800 333 000 or follow the link in the show notes.

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