GUN KEY TO MURDER MYSTERY
Rare rifle could hold key to cold case mystery
POLICE believe a distinctive firearm could help identify the killer of a hitchhiker more than 30 years ago.
Police have launched a fresh appeal for information regarding the whereabouts of the Voere .22 calibre bolt- action rifle ( similar to the one pictured) that was believed to be in the possession of Anthony “Tony” Jones ( right) at the time of his disappearance in November 1982.
Senior Sergeant John Mahoney said police believed they may be able to solve the case if they could recover the relatively rare firearm.
He said about 2000 of the Austrian/German-made rifles were manufactured during the 1970s.
“The location of the firearm is of very significant
interest to us,” he said.
“We know for certain that he was in possession of it when he disappeared and if we can find it, hopefully we can link it back to what happened to him.”
Mr Jones was reported missing in Western Australia on November 11, 1982.
Records showed Mr Jones made a call from a phone box on Bowen Rd at Rosslea on November 3 that year.
But all leads went cold until February 2014, when police received “fresh and credible” information linking Jones to Hughenden.
Police spent several weeks speaking with locals in the outback town and even conducted a search at the town’s disused slaughter yards, but turned up nothing.
Police recently received new information that the missing rifle may be in Hughenden. Mr Jones bought it in Western Australia before setting off for the east coast.
He is known to have carried the rifle, broken down into pieces, in a backpack.
Sen- Sgt Mahoney said police were keeping an open mind but everything was “pointing to Hughenden”.
“We are aware of the serial number but don’t want to disclose that at this stage,” he said. “But it is not a common firearm. It is an unusual brand of firearm.”
The serial number of the rifle has never been registered.
Police have also conducted inquiries with registered owners of Voere rifles but have come up empty- handed.
Mr Jones’s disappearance was 14 years before a nationwide buyback after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.
Detective Sergeant Brendan Stevenson said the person in possession of the rifle may have no idea about its origin or relevance.
“It could have been sitting in a shed for 20 years and no one is the wiser,” he said.
The investigators are urging anyone who has a Voere rifle to contact police.
Police are also investigating “several persons of interest” in NSW and the NT.
Sen- Sgt Mahoney said police would return to Hughenden in coming weeks.
“Police are realistic enough to know there are firearms that are unregistered in the community,” he said. “We are just hoping that someone who may be in possession of this rifle will come forward.”
If you, or someone you know, has a Voere .22 calibre bolt- action rifle contact your local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
SIGHTING: The Grand Hotel, where a witness reported seeing Tony Jones before his disappearance in 1982.