Gordon Copeland's 'aunt' says a 'post-it' note is the only information they were given by police to help their search for a missing loved one.
Mr Copeland's body was found three months after disappearing into the Gwydir River at Moree during a police incident in the early hours of July 10, 2021. The coronial inquest into his death began in the town on Monday, July 18.
Lesley Fernando, gave evidence to the inuest on Thursday morning where it was heard the family "begged" the police for help or to at least give them information to assist in their own search, after other resources had been stood down.
"We kept asking where to look, we had no idea where to look; we asked, please tell us something," Ms Fernando recalled.
She said she was "shut down" multiple times when calling the station.
"He said, 'Lesley stop calling; there is nobody here to talk to you'."
After deciding to return to the station for more information, the family spoke with the sergeant on duty, explained their situation and "begged" him to speak with the detective to reactivate the search.
Ms Fernando said the sergeant returned with a message that there was nothing further they could do and explained their roles, and that the detective out-ranked him.
"We asked, please give us something to help; we don't know where to look. He left the room, came back and had a post-it note and handed it to me. It said 500m west of the bridge. That was the resources that we were given to look for our loved one - a post-it note!"
During the second coordinated search, Ms Fernando recalled a senior police officer approaching her as she stood alone on the riverbank, three days after anyone had seen or heard from Gordon.
"He introduced himself and went on to tell a story about how he had been pigging a few weeks before in that area, south of where Gordon was seen last," Ms Fernando recalled.
"He said, 'I caught a pig; I came back the next day and the other pigs ate that pig, so you really want to hope that Gordon is in the water and is not on land'."
"I was disgusted! My gut turned; it was so revolting. To have that vision in my mind as he's speaking those words, there was nothing to describe my feelings; it was gross. I was so mortified by that conversation."
Ms Fernando said the actions, or lack thereof from police, were "utterly disgusting".
"This will stick with us for the rest of our lives but the last 12 months is not something we can ever get over.
"The evidence brought in the court ... the actions on that video, that will now live with us forever. We will never unsee that or unhear that.
"For eight long months, since we were given the date of this inquest, we have prepared ourselves emotionally to be here and to hold ourselves together as a family as we have. The morning of Monday 18th Narelle (Mr Copeland's mother) and I drove to Josephine's (his partner's) house to go and check on her and the boys.
"We'd put the boys in the car and Gordon (Jnr) sitting in his car seat... he says to me - I have a shirt with his dad's face on it - he said, 'That's my dad', and he puts up his little hands and says 'where's my dad'?"
Mr Copeland's mother, Narelle Copeland, also gave evidence on Thursday morning and provided an explanation as to why he may have ran from police that morning.
She said Gordon was scared of police and didn't trust them.
"He was bashed by the police, dragged out of a car, hit on his motorbike by a police car," Ms Copeland said.
She said she was "going crazy" trying to get information and more assistance from police and even had a panic attack when she arrived in Moree.
He was bashed by the police, dragged out of a car, hit on his motorbike by a police car.- Narelle Copeland about her late son, Gordon
Ms Copeland also explained the personal efforts by the family and community to continue the search for her son.
She said they never stopped and were out looking every day.
A fundraiser and a $20,000 donation by one of Gordon's friends helped with what was needed including boats, food, petrol, GoPros, wetsuits and kayaks.
The inquest continues.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.