Aussies Missing Overseas


Help me out with research - if you know of a case of an Aussie missing overseas, no matter how long, e mail them to me for inclusion.


                            Cases listed and Countries they are missing in -

Mohammad ABBAS - Turkey

Jenenne-Ann ALLEN - UK

Rafael BRANDER - China/Tibet

Carmel BROOKES - In the ocean off Thailand

Colin BURGESS - In the ocean around Papua New Guinea

Ryan CHAMBERS - India

Tony CLINCH - France

Christopher COLOMBO - Brazil

Helena Cvetkovic - Thailand

Malcom EARLAM - Peru

Kenneth  ELLIOTT - Burkina Faso (West Africa)   LOCATED ALIVE!

Trevor FURNER - Benin, West Africa

Odette HOUGHTON  - India

Leslie LEWIS - Thailand

David LINDNER - Iran

Will MAINPRIZE  - East China Sea

Stephen McKee - Vietnam

Daniel MOUNTWITTEN - India

Lukas ORDA - East China Sea

Neil QUALTROUGH - In the ocean between Honolulu, Hawaii and Australia

Mamawa SACKOR - Guinea

Tahnee SHANKS - Mexico

Alma TURCIOS - El Salvador

Benjamin WYATT - USA


                                     When an Australian is missing overseas

All travellers are encouraged to take five minutes before they depart to register their travel details with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. By registering, travellers are letting the Department know where they are. This makes it easier for consular officials to contact them in an emergency - whether it be a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue or to advise them of an urgent travel advice update.

Travellers often get caught up in the excitement of a new place and forget to keep in touch with home as regularly as they promised. For this reason, Australian consular officers will only pursue welfare and whereabouts enquiries which are based on a well-founded concern for the welfare of an Australian citizen overseas and a belief that the person concerned needs consular assistance.

Before accepting and actioning a whereabouts enquiry the Department expects enquirers to have exhausted all normally available channels such as checking bank account and credit card activity, following up with travel agents, contacting family and friends who may have been in contact with the travellers and contacting the traveller's last known address.

If the Australian has registered, it is usually much easier for the consular official to locate the missing person overseas, which can help to save families much unnecessary worry. However, it is a requirement under the Privacy Act that once the person has been located, in most cases the Department still needs to obtain their consent to inform their family of their whereabouts and welfare.

There are situations where a serious or imminent threat to life allows us to communicate with next-of-kin. An example may be in a search and rescue situation where someone has gone missing at sea, mountain climbing or have not returned from a trek and there are serious concerns for their welfare. In search and rescue situations consular officers will liaise with local authorities to ensure that all search and rescue agencies are engaged in the search - consular officers will not coordinate or commence search procedures.

If the Department knows the whereabouts of an Australian during an emergency or crisis in that country we are better able to locate them and provide necessary assistance, and will be able to reassure their family about their safety It is, however, very difficult for consular officers to assist Australians in an emergency if we don't know where they are. Likewise, in response to enquiries from family members as to the whereabouts of Australians overseas, it is also easier for consular staff to locate and assist them if the person has registered or the family has specific details of the missing person's travel plans.

Further details on registration and when consular officials can assist in whereabouts cases are available in the Department's publication: What to do when someone is missing overseas (see below)

         What to do when someone is missing overseas

If you have been regularly communicating with a friend or family member travelling overseas and then for no apparent reason you lose contact it can be a very stressful and emotional experience.

In many cases Australian travellers simply forget to keep in contact with home as they are having such a wonderful time, or, because they are unable to access a telephone or the internet while in transit or staying in remote areas. Some Australians choose not to contact home as they do not want their location known.

If you are concerned about a person's whereabouts overseas or need to get in contact with them urgently, for example to advise them of a death in the family, this brochure offers some suggestions about the steps you can take.

What can I do?

If you become concerned about a person's whereabouts overseas you can:

Important things to remember when you begin trying to locate a person overseas:

Who can help?

If after making enquiries you are still unable to locate your loved one and have serious concerns for their safety and welfare, you can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT's) Consular Emergency Centre from anywhere in Australia on 1300 555 135, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For us to be able to assist you we will require the missing person's full name, date of birth, passport number (if known), all their known travel plans and contact details overseas (including the names and contact details of employers and people they have been travelling with) and advice about the last contact they made. Gather as much information as possible before contacting the Department.

Depending on the information you provide, the Department may be able to assist in determining a person's whereabouts. The Department will only pursue enquiries that are based on a serious concern for the welfare of an Australian overseas and a belief that the person concerned needs consular assistance.

The Department may request that you complete a missing person's report at your nearest police station, or we may seek information from you to provide to the police. Australia's police services are committed to conducting thorough and extensive investigations where there are genuine concerns for a missing person.

What happens next?

If you have given the Department sufficient detail about the missing person we will contact Australian diplomatic missions overseas. Consular staff can then begin enquiries with local authorities, including the police.  Privacy provisions operating in foreign countries can severely restrict the information provided to us by local law enforcement agencies. The Department and the police will work together to try and locate the missing person.

If the missing person contacts you, please inform the Department or the police immediately.

Who else can help?

The Red Cross Tracing Service works in more than 180 countries to re-establish contact between relatives separated as a result of war, internal conflict or natural disaster. It is a service provided free of charge to the public. You can contact the Australian Red Cross Tracing Service by phoning 1800 246 850, or using the 'contact us' form on their website.

The Salvation Army Family Tracing Service operates a worldwide network for finding missing families. It accepts a donation for this work.

The International Social Service traces family members in conjunction with its social work. It requires a contribution towards its costs for this work.

The National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (NMPCC), is located with the Australian Federal Police in Canberra.  The centre works with state and territory police services and community-based organisations to provide a coordinated approach to locating missing people in Australia and overseas.  The centre's role in relation to Australian's missing overseas is to facilitate dissemination and distribution of information into the public domain via the NMPCC website.  This is facilitated and supported by the state and territory police jurisdictions, and only with the permission of the family of the person listed as missing. Further information is available on Toll Free 1800 000 634.

Interpol is the world's largest international police organisation, with 186 member countries, and facilitates cross-border police co-operation.  Its role is to ensure and promote the widest possible communication between all police authorities within the limits of the laws of the countries, and in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  At the request of police agencies and other judicial authorities, Interpol Canberra can request the issue of Interpol International notices.  A Yellow Notice is the appropriate colour-code for missing persons.

Interpol facilitates cross-border police cooperation and only responds to enquiries received from state and territory police jurisdictions.  Interpol does not receive or action enquiries from the general community.

How is the privacy of consular clients protected?

Any person who receives assistance from Australian consular officials overseas has the right to privacy as an Australian citizen protected by the Privacy Act 1988.

Unless consular officers receive the person's consent (obtained in writing where possible) they are unable to disclose personal information about them, even to their next-of-kin, unless it becomes a requirement under Australian law, or a judgement is made, that the life or health of the person or another person is being threatened. Family members should be aware that if a missing person is located by a consular officer but decides they do not wish for anyone to be notified, the consular official cannot pass on personal information.

Planning Tips

Before any of your family members leave Australia, encourage them to:

We would also recommend that family members make the following preparations prior to departure to save you needless worry while they are overseas:

42 years later, missing man spotted

Herald Sun

October 18, 2008 02:53am

A MAN who disappeared 42 years ago after a car crash is believed to have reappeared on a Melbourne street just months ago.
In one of the most baffling cases on Australian police missing persons files, Samuel Turner Wilson has twice resurfaced before disappearing again.

A grainy black and white photo of him stares from an Australian Federal Police file that reads like a paperback thriller.

"Samuel Wilson disappeared from Dromore in Northern Ireland on October 18, 1966," the National Missing Persons Co-ordination Centre profile states.

"He crashed his car and, after asking for help, disappeared.

"At the time there was some debate as to whether he had lost his memory and, washing in the sea nearby, fell in and drowned.

"However, in 1975 he was seen in Toronto, Canada, greeted the person who recognised him and then walked away.

"More recently still, he was seen in Melbourne, Australia."

Despite the reported sighting, neither the AFP nor Victoria Police, which both insist the other has carriage of the investigation, are any the wiser about where Mr Wilson is or whether it was him seen recently.

The matter is one of dozens of active cases involving Australians who have disappeared overseas.

The AFP lists another seven Australians as missing, in countries from Brazil to India.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as of this month, 44 Australians in 30 countries are missing.

When loved ones fail to contact family while overseas, relatives can ask the Government to help.

The department activates a "whereabouts inquiry" and contacts its network of embassies, police, medical and Customs officials to try to locate the individual.

The missing Australians range in age from 11 to 80, and the greatest number were last seen in America.

Christopher Colombo, who would now be 45, is on the list.

He left Australia in 1997 for a holiday in Brazil. He contacted his family in the last week of April 1997 and again -- for the last time -- the next month.

Tony Clinch was last seen at Cairns Airport on November 15, 1997. Customs records show he landed at Roissy Airport, France, on November 16, 1997, but he has not been heard from since.

Ryan Anthony Chambers, 24, was last seen in Rishikesh, India, in August 2005.

Michael Desmond Cahill, who would now be 50, was last seen in Malaysia in 1998, after returning there from Australia to work at his engineering business.

In June 2004, Colin James Burgess, then 56, left Townsville on his yacht The Vangie for Bougainville.

In December of that year there was a possible sighting of him on Rossell Island, Papua New Guinea.

David Andrew Lindner, 42, stayed at the Azarbaijan Hotel in Iran on November 7 and 8, 1993.

It was to be the last record of his movements.

Odette Houghton, who would now be 41, was living in India and last saw her family in Thailand in 1990. Regular phone contact ended in August 1991.

Mystery of "missing" foreigners
From S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Nov 7 1998

 Mystery regarding the disappearance of the foreign tourists in the Kulu district has deepened further with the police saying that there was no trace of 14 of them.

Of the 15 foreigners reported missing, only one was traced so far. As many as eight of them had disappeared in the Manikaran valley.

Among the 'disappeared' foreign tourists, six were women. Foreign tourists have been disappearing in the Kulu district since 1992 and the shortage of police manpower has prevented the police from keeping vigil on the visitors.

This has been stated in a report to the state Human Rights Commission by the Superintendent of Police, Kulu. The Commission had directed him to file the report following newspaper reports about the missing tourists. The report of the 'disappeared' tourists was highlighted recently by the foreign media.

The police has said that all efforts to trace the missing foreigners have proved futile. The crime branch of the CID was investigating some of these cases. Only one Australian tourist, Miss Burfitt Jacqueline Louise, who was reported missing in June 1993, has so far been traced.

Thirty-three foreigners had died between 1991 and 1998 in the Kulu district. Their bodies were cremated only after directions from their respective embassies or high commissions. Nine of them had died while trekking.

A 30-year Swiss tourist, Miss Marianne Heer, disappeared in the Manikaran valley where she was last seen with one Ganga Ram in October 1992. The crime branch was investigating the case which was reported by the Swiss Embassy at Delhi.

There was no trace of Heer or Ganga Ram so far.

A Yugoslavian tourist, Miss Tatjama, suddenly disappeared when she came out of her hotel room in the Naggar area on January 20, 1992.

Her disappearance was reported to the police by Miss Cladiua, an Italian woman, who accompanied Miss Tatjama and two others to Naggar for trekking and stayed at a hotel at Chharahan. Tatjama went out of the room at 10 am the same day and never returned.

Mr Mintzer Nadav, an Israeli tourist, has been missing since 1997. He was last seen at Manali on September 20 and thereafter he could not be traced.

During investigations the police found that some traveller cheques held by Mintzer were encashed in Jaipur, Delhi and Aurangabad after his disappearance. However, the signatures of encashment do not tally with those of Mintzer.

Mr Ardavan Taherzadeh (25), a Canadian tourist, is missing in the Kasol area since May 21, 1997. His mother, Homa Boustani, lodged a report about her missing son on August 12, 1997.

He last contacted his home at Canada on May 21 from Kasol in Manikaran.

A British, Mr Ian Mogford, who was temporarily residing at Mohali and left for Kulu from Chandigarh on August 10, 1996, disappeared my- steriously. During interrogation, one Rudernagh Baba alias Prabhapuri told the police that Mogford met him at the Shiv temple at Manikaran along with a Turkish, Mr Nurethlin Rydin.

Mr Paul Roche (30) an Irish, went missing in February 1996 while he was on his way to Koksar from Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district.

Roche had come for trekking from Manali to Lama Yuru in three weeks. However, he disappeared even before starting the trek.

Efforts of the police to trace Miss Odette Houghton, an Australian, in the upper Manali, Malana and Parbati areas since 1993 have been futile. She was last seen in the Manikaran area.

An American couple, Ms Ashley Palumbo and Mr Tyler Mondlock, disappeared in mysterious circumstances after encashing a travellers cheque worth $ 150 from the United Commercial Bank, Manali, on August 25, 1995.

The couple stayed in hotel Green Land at Manali where they had mentioned in the "C" form that they will leave for Delhi on September 5. However, they left the hotel on August 26 and disappeared. No clue about them was found in Keylong and Leh.

Relatives of the couple have engaged private detectives for tracing them, but no clue has so far been found.

There is much suspense in the disappearance of Mr H.R.M. Timmer Arents, a Dutch, from a hotel at Manali where he was last seen in June 1995.

Mr H.G. Timmer, brother of the missing tourist, personally came to Kulu to trace him. A skeleton was found in the Solang nullah which his brother suspected to be of the missing man. However, the skeleton was sent to the Indira Gandhi Medical College here for examination where it was found that it was not of the missing Timmer.

Mr Timmer had also visited the Roerich estate at Naggar before he disappeared.

The efforts of the Australian police to trace Mr Gregory John Powell, have also failed. He was reported missing in the Manikaran area since October 1995. He was also not traceable at Malana.

Detective Sergent Brian Graham of the Australian Federal Police, who was stationed at Islamabad, visited Kulu on August 1, 1996 to make a futile effort to trace him.

His brother, Mr Butter Brian Powell lodged a report on December 6, 1996 that his brother has been kidnapped and murdered.

Ms Jassot Alxendro, an Australian, has remained untraced after she was reported missing between Leh and Manali in August 1996.

Mr Heinz Ruegg, a Swiss national, suddenly disappeared at Kothi in Manali where he had gone along with his wife and children for sight-seeing in June 1996.

The SP has said that no foreigner has been reported missing since September 1997.

Tourists disappear without a trace in the Himalayas

Another backpacker vanishes in "the valley of the gods"

by Joshua Crouthamel October 20th 2010

Kulu is a picturesque Himalayan valley in the far north of India, and its charms have attracted adventurous travellers for decades. Thousands of backpackers hike into Kulu each year, but not all of them make it home.

The latest victim is a 24-year-old Israeli tourist, Amichai Steinmetz, who went on a day-trek on 22 July, and never returned. Steinmetz's grandfather organised a private search and rescue team to scour the hills and rivers of Kulu, and offered a reward for any information about his grandson's whereabouts, all to no avail. But the Superintendent of Police in Kulu, K. K. Indoria, is not surprised.

"Amichai is not an isolated case of disappearance of a foreigner," says Indoria. "He is among 19 foreign tourists who have gone missing in the Kulu valley in the past 17 years. Only one Australian tourist (Burfitt Jacqueline Louise), who was reported missing in June 1993, has been traced so far."

There are three theories about the disappearances, according to police. One is that the harsh terrain claims lives of unlucky or unfit visitors, and keeps their remains hidden. In one case in 2004 a Swedish hiker's body was found frozen in glacial ice ... 25 years after her disappearance.

The second theory is that foul play is involved. A handful of tourists have been murdered in the area, and skeletons of others bearing the signs of an unnatural death have been discovered.

The final theory is that the missing travellers chose to disappear. Our police superintendent says "We have information that a large number of foreigners who disappeared mysteriously are illegally staying in various tribal areas." That's going off the grid in a big, big way.

This final theory isn't too far-fetched. Here's a gallery of the world's top ten places to disappear.

Australians missing overseas

AM - Tuesday, 21 October , 2008  08:21:00

Reporter: Jennifer Macey - ABC

TONY EASTLEY: The Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says there are nearly 50 Australians missing overseas.

One of them is 21 year old Ryan Chambers who went missing in India three years ago.

He was travelling with a friend in Rishikesh at the foothills of the Himalaya's in northern India when he left his room early in the morning leaving all his belongings, including his passport behind.

His parents say after initial assistance from Australian consular officials in India they've been left to conduct most of the search efforts on their own.

Ryan's father Jock Chambers says he feels let down by Australian authorities.

He's speaking here with Jennifer Macey.

JOCK CHAMBERS: On the afternoon of the 24th August 2005, Ryan's friend rang us, they were travelling together, they'd been in India for two months and Ryan disappeared from Rishikesh.

JENNIFER MACEY: What did you do initially?

JOCK CHAMBERS: Well we rang the DFAT just to inform them, I immediately arranged to go to India and I was there two days later, as soon as I could. And met with the police, the Indian police a day or two later, consulate officers came from New Delhi from DFAT and for the next two and half weeks we searched and checked out all around Rishikesh and couldn't find a trace of him.

JENNIFER MACEY: Did you get in contact with the Australia Federal Police at the time?

JOCK CHAMBERS: No we did later when I got back, we contacted the police and informed them that Ryan was missing and when asked where he'd gone missing, Diane said India and the lady said oh no not India as if it was the worst place for anyone to go missing and after three years, perhaps it is.

JENNIFER MACEY: So did they offer any assistance?

JOCK CHAMBERS: None whatsoever, the only thing they've ever done to my knowledge mind you is meet with DFAT and put the missing notice and Ryan's photo on their website and then about a year later I even asked if they were able to help us by aging a photo of him so we could see what he would look like after 12 months, with long hair, long beard.

And with all their resources, all the government resources they said they did not have any capability to do and that referred me to a private operator.

JENNIFER MACEY: So you had to pay for that yourself?

JOCK CHAMBERS: Well we were forced in a way to do everything ourselves and that's the way we chose to do it initially but there were no Australian police there at all really and we asked our investigation for the consulate officers from Delhi and they just kept referring to private firms as you know we were under the impression back then that it was all our cost.

We paid for the Ganges to be checked three times and nothing found there. But certainly no AFP officer went anywhere near India.

JENNIFER MACEY: How do you feel about that?

JOCK CHAMBERS: It's one of these things, we're an Australian family, we've got an Australia citizen; our son missing in India a bit over three years. Four thirty every morning I get up, spend an hour on the internet, cause that's the only avenue we've got.

TONY EASTLEY: Jock Chambers whose son Ryan has been missing in India for three years. Mr Chambers was speaking there with Jennifer Macey.