MISSING MAN: Paul Stevenson went missing on a motorcycle ride near Mount Perry.
MISSING MAN: Paul Stevenson went missing on a motorcycle ride near Mount Perry. contributed

Family haunted by questions seven years after dad vanishes

NIKKI Whelan can't rest.

It's been seven years since she saw her father and, in her words, "as time goes by it's only going to get harder".

In those seven long years she has imagined every scenario, every situation ... but nothing explains why her dad, Paul Stevenson, vanished on this day in 2012.

"You go through the different emotions," she says.

 

Nikki Whelan wants answers.
Nikki Whelan wants answers. Mike Knott BUN280213STE3

"But because you can't deal with them you've got to go on with everyday life, it's just horrible."

The diesel mechanic, popular community member and much-loved family man told his family he'd be setting off on a ride towards Paradise Dam in the early hours of the morning.

His plan was simple. A scenic bike ride, a quick shower at home, then a meeting he was scheduled to attend at 9am.

But his family knew something wasn't right when he failed to make his meeting. Then calls to his phone rang out one after another.

It wasn't like him.

 

Nikki just wants to know what happened to her dad.
Nikki just wants to know what happened to her dad. contributed

It would be two days before any sign was found.

His 1978 Honda CB750 motorbike was discovered down an embankment, wedged in amongst the lantana.

There were a couple of snakes under the bike. There was no sign of blood.

An indicator on his "pride and joy" was damaged but there were no signs of a high-speed crash.

His helmet was found near the bike.

 

The road where Paul went missing.
The road where Paul went missing. Mike Knott BUN140312MNT7

With Paul being a seasoned motorbike rider, there's no way he would have taken the bends and winds of the road carelessly, according to his daughter.

A four-day search with two helicopters and more than 100 volunteers combing "kilometres and kilometres" of bushland couldn't find Paul.

"My husband and I have had discussions and the biggest thing for me is how could Dad not be there?" Mrs Whelan asks.

 

Helicopters combed bushland in the search for Paul Stevenson.
Helicopters combed bushland in the search for Paul Stevenson. Mike Knott BUN140312MNT6

Another mystery that baffles Mrs Whelan is the fact that no one has come forward with any significant piece of the puzzle.

The place where his bike was found - Mt Perry-Gin Gin Rd - is a fairly busy country road.

"My mother and father-in-law live a few kilometres from where he went missing," Mrs Whelan said, revealing that she had sat and watched the traffic just to see how many people pass by. A lot.

"It would be near impossible for someone not to have seen anything," she said.

"But there's just been nothing."

At a point where she is desperate for answers, Mrs Whelan is calling on anyone who was in the area on that day to think about not only the abnormal, but the normal things they remember that might finally crack the case.

"We're sort of at a roadblock and we don't know where to go because we need some sort of evidence but we don't have that," she told the NewsMail.

Paul's family has tried everything, even consulting psychics for answers, but as time goes on, their resolve wears thin.

"It gets you down and it gets you exhausted," Mrs Whelan said. "It does toy with your emotions."

While foul play is one of the many scenarios that plays on her mind, she can't think of anyone who would wish harm on her dad.

"He was one of those people who everyone really liked," Mrs Whelan said.

"I'm still very much a believer, I fully believe that someone knows something.

"We need answers, it doesn't matter what the answers give us, we just need those answers now."

Paul's case is still an open investigation.

"For the police to be able to do anything we need people to come forward," Mrs Whelan said.

"Someone might think something is nothing but it could be the one big break we actually need."

"I still do believe at the end of the day there's someone out there who knows something."

Paul Stevenson was 47 when he went missing and was seen about 4am on March 13, 2012, getting fuel at a Bundaberg service station before taking off on an unknown route to Paradise Dam.

He was wearing a black leather jacket, a black full-face helmet and possibly jeans.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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