PO­LICE CHARGE DOU­BLE MURDER SUS­PECT

ROSEDALE RES­I­DENT AC­CUSED OF KILLS

NewsMail - - FRONT PAGE - Te­gan An­nett

PO­LICE yes­ter­day charged a 51-year-old Rosedale man with the mur­ders of two men who dis­ap­peared 25 years ago.

Po­lice be­lieve Derek Van Der Poel, 23, and Robert Grayson, 26, were watch­ing a mar­i­juana crop at Kroom­bit Tops when they were killed.

Yes­ter­day’s break­through came af­ter an ex­haus­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tion dur­ing which po­lice re­vis­ited ev­i­dence and in­ter­viewed 100 peo­ple.

IT IS the rev­e­la­tion two fam­i­lies and de­tec­tives in­volved in the re­gion’s most puz­zling mys­ter­ies have waited 26 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.

But Capri­cor­nia District De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Dar­rin Shad­low said po­lice could not rule out that more than one per­son was 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.

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

In 2009, Mr Grayson’s fa­ther, Vic Grayson, who last saw his son in March 1993, said he was be­gin­ning to lose hope 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.

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

Dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, more than 100 peo­ple were in­ter­viewed.

Det 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.

(Po­lice) have been work­ing doggedly on this for the past few months... — De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Dar­rin Shad­low

LAST SEEN 1993

PHOTO: QUEENS­LAND PO­LICE SER­VICE

VIC­TIMS: Derek Van Der Poel, 23, and Robert Grayson, 26, were last seen in 1993.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Dar­rin Shad­low dis­cusses the ar­rest of 51-year-old Rosedale man Rus­sell Wil­liams.

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