COLD CASE: Detective Inspector Capricorn District Darrin Shadlow confirmed a man has been arrested and charged in relation to the disappearance and suspected murder of two men in Gladstone almost 25 years ago.
COLD CASE: Detective Inspector Capricorn District Darrin Shadlow confirmed a man has been arrested and charged in relation to the disappearance and suspected murder of two men in Gladstone almost 25 years ago. Mike Richards GLA290118MRDR

Over 100 interviewed in 25-year double murder cold case

IT is the revelation two families and Gladstone detectives involved in one of the region's most puzzling mysteries have waited almost 25 years for.

After revisiting years of evidence and interviewing more than 100 people, Gladstone Police yesterday charged a 51-year-old man in relation to the disappearance and suspected murder of Derek Van Der Poel and Robert Grayson.

Russell Williams, of Rosedale, was charged with two counts of murder and drug production following an exhaustive investigation by Gladstone detectives and members of the Homicide Squad.

One resident from Rosedale was audibly shocked when she heard the news.

She said she knew of Mr Williams but did not know him personally.

The person, who did not wish to be named, said the news would shock the small community.

Detective Inspector of the Capricornia District, Darrin Shadlow, said police could not rule out that more than one person could be involved in the crime.

Mr Van Der Poel, 23, and Mr Grayson, 26, were last seen in late May, 1993 when they were tending to a "substantial" sized marijuana crop at Kroombit Tops National Park, between Monto and Calliope.

Police believe Mr Williams was also involved in the drug production at Kroombit Tops.

 

Robert Grayson (26 at the time) was reported missing on August 8, 1994. On September 2 1994, Derek Van Der Poel (23 at the time) was subsequently reported missing to Calliope Police.
Robert Grayson (26 at the time) was reported missing on August 8, 1994. On September 2 1994, Derek Van Der Poel (23 at the time) was subsequently reported missing to Calliope Police. Queensland Police Service

Others with knowledge of the cannabis crop were urged by Insp Shadlow to "dig into their conscience" and share information that could lead to the conviction of those involved.

Robert Grayson's father Vic Grayson, who last saw his son in March 1993, told The Observer in 2009 he was beginning to lose hope that he would ever know what happened to his son.

"I'd like to have hope but the more time goes on, the more I think I probably won't ever know the truth," he said.

Insp Shadlow said the arrest reopened wounds for the families, but gave them some form of closure.

During the investigation more than 100 people had been interviewed, cementing it as one of Gladstone's biggest mysteries.

Insp Shadlow said the culmination of yesterday's arrest showed the tenacity of the investigators.

"(Gladstone detectives and the Homicide Squad) have been working doggedly on this for the past few months, revisiting a number of people, statements and evidence," he said.

A $250,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction is still on offer.

Williams is expected to front court on the charges tomorrow. Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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