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NT missing person identified after 24 years due to DNA developments and family matching

May 23, 2023 5:04 pm in by

Human remains discovered in the Northern Territory have been identified as those belonging to a long-term missing person, with new technology providing closure to the family decades on.

Owen Ryder failed to return home to Kwala Outstation, about 10 kms East of Hermannsburg in August 1999.

His wife and community members made several attempts to find him before reporting him missing to police.

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Extensive land and air searches were conducted around Larapinta Drive and the Wallace Rockhole Road intersection, where Mr Ryder was last seen but were unsuccessful in finding him.

Years later an inquest was held into his disappearance, with Mr Ryder declared dead by the Coroner in 2004.

In February 2007, human remains were discovered in a paddock about 8kms from the Larapinta Drive and Wallace Rockhole Road turn off.

A crime scene was established, with investigators conscious that Mr Ryder was linked to the area.

Although forensic analysis was performed at the time, a DNA profile could not be extracted and enquiries were exhausted.

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AAP image: AP Mary Altaffer

But that changed when a National DNA Program was undertaken by the AFP and a sample from the remains was sent to a laboratory in Canberra last year, which recovered a partial DNA profile.

The NT Police biology team then undertook a database search which revealed a comparison to the Ryder family, leading them to confirm that the remains belonged to Owen Ryder.

Not only does the break through provide closure for the family, but the breakthrough in technology paves the way for more identifications and links to be established between human remains and families.

Family members of a missing person are being urged to contact the NT Police Missing Persons Unit on 131 444 to discuss providing DNA.

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