News South Wales police have confirmed human remains found in the Gwydir River in the state’s north belong to an Indigenous man who was last seen allegedly running from police.
The Gomeroi man from Moree was seen entering the river north of the town on 10 July. His remains were found on Thursday 500 metres from where he was last seen and they were identified on Monday.
Police launched a new intensive three-day search last week following sustained pressure from the local community and the man’s family.
“The remains were sent for forensic examination and have been identified as those of [the] missing 22-year-old man,” NSW police said in a statement on Monday. “Investigators are continuing to prepare a report for the information of the NSW coroner.”
In a statement released three days after the Gomeroi man disappeared, police said they had seen a black hatchback speeding through Moree about 2.30am on 10 July and later found the car bogged near a bridge on the Carnarvon Highway.
“Officers attempted to speak with a man at the scene, however, he allegedly ran from police and was seen entering the Gwydir River.”
The family has disputed that version of events, saying officers had chased the car and they believe the 22-year-old, who was terrified of the police, dived into the water to get away from them.
The events leading up to the disappearance of the young father are currently the subject of an independent police investigation.
Family members have previously criticised police for withholding information about the man’s disappearance.
His family had continued to search the riverbank for some sign of the young father. In July, about 250 people marched in Moree to demand “answers” from NSW police over his disappearance.