Arson suspect goes missing after blaze
When the flashing lights started turning up he walked into the bush never to be seen again
— fire witness
A MAN suspected of burning down a Cow Bay home has not been seen since the blaze took hold on Friday night.
Police are searching for Ronald Petley, a man in his 50s who had lived in the property for about nine years.
The Silver Ash Rd house was completely destroyed by the fire about 6pm.
Mossman CIB Detective Sergeant Trevor Perham said police were treating the blaze as suspicious.
“Police believe that Mr Petley may be able to assist us with our inquires and are seeking any information in relation to his whereabouts,” he said.
“He is believed to be unharmed.”
An onlooker said he noticed Mr Petley “necking a stubby” as the fire raged.
“When the flashing lights started turning up he walked into the bush never to be seen again,” the witness said.
It is believed Mr Petley has recently split up from his partner, who owned the property.
The woman, who was overseas at the time, returned to Australia on Tuesday to the news that she had lost everything.
“She’s naturally in shock,” Det Sgt Perham said.
After disappearing almost a week ago, Mr Petley has been added to the official missing persons register.
“The rest remains a mystery at this time and we need to speak to Mr Petley to help us unravel what happened,” Det Sgt Perham said.
“We’re concerned for his welfare.”
Anyone with information can call Mossman CIB on 4098 2180 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.
Burnt to the ground: The Cow Bay home went up in flames