New England police are appealing for help to find three men who have been missing for more than 31 years combined.
Moree’s William ‘John’ Torrens, Bingara’s Darren ‘Spaz’ Willis and Armidale’s William ‘Bill’ Roach remain missing, despite police conducting extensive searches and exhausting all possible leads.
“Every little piece of information we get, every potential, possible sighting, we follow those up but unfortunately we’re still struggling to identify and find Mr Torrens and the other two missing persons,” Moree Police Station officer-in-charge Inspector Martin Burke said.
It is now almost four months since Moree man William ‘John’ Torrens was last seen at 9.19am on Friday, January 5 2018 as he left a Moree nursing home in Victoria Terrace. At the time he was wearing a short sleeve green button up shirt, dark coloured shorts, black socks, brown shoes, black glasses and carrying a white plastic bag.
Mr Torrens is described as male, 73 years old, 175cm, 80kg, short grey hair.
New England Police District Commander, Superintendent Scott Tanner said “the past four months has been extremely hard for the family of Mr Torrens”.
“During this time police have investigated a number of reported sightings across New South Wales and Queensland – unfortunately none have been confirmed,” he said.
“Our officers will continue to follow up on any and all leads provided to us … if you have information, no matter how trivial it may seem, now is the time to come forward.”
The case of Mr Torrens is one of three missing persons cases oversighted by New England Police District.
In January 2011, then 45-year-old Darren Royce Willis (known by all as ‘Spaz’) was formally reported missing – he was last seen in Bingara in early December 2010.
Mr Willis was expected to return home but has not been sighted since.
Mr Willis, who would now be 53, is described as of Caucasian appearance, 198cm tall, slim build, with brown hair and blue eyes.
Finally, William ‘Bill’ Roach, who was aged 25 at the time, was last seen on Grafton Road Armidale, on Friday, December 31, 1993. Bill would now be 49 years old.
Superintendent Tanner said the smallest piece of information could provide clues needed to resolve these cases.
“The families of these men deserve to know what happened to them.” Mr Tanner said.
“The smallest piece of information may just be the last piece of the puzzle needed for these families so please come forward now.”
Inspector Burke said police remain hopeful of finding all three men.
“Until there’s any tangible evidence to suggest either way, we don’t rule anything in or anything out,” he said.
“It’s important to realise that people go missing for a whole range of different reasons; sometimes they wish to leave the life that they once lived, they can’t deal with it, all the way through to some sort of accidental misadventure or foul play.
“We don’t rule anything in or out with any or all of these cases. That’s the important thing that we keep an open mind moving forward.”
Every year 35,000 people are reported missing in Australia. While 95 percent of people are found within a short period of time, there remains approximately 1,600 long-term missing persons.
A Missing Person is defined as anyone who is reported missing to police, whose whereabouts are unknown, and there are fears for the safety or concern for the welfare of that person.
Inspector Burke said it is important for people to be aware that being reported missing is not a crime and that it is the aim of the NSW Police Force to ascertain if the missing person is safe and well.
“Missing people are important to us, they’re important to their families, they’re important to the communities where they went missing from and the most important thing is we just try to get the smallest pieces of information that can lead us to an outcome for the families’ sake,” he said.
“This is an opportunity to get a head start ahead of Missing Persons Week which is coming up in a couple of months time.
“Missing persons cases are cases that are ongoing, those investigations are open every day of the week until the matter is solved.”
Police are urging anyone with information in relation to missing persons disappearance to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/
Information provided will be treated in the strictest of confidence. Police remind people they should not report crime information via their Facebook and Twitter pages.