Coro­ner rec­om­mends po­lice in­ves­ti­gate ‘sus­pi­cious death’

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

A STATE Coro­ner has been crit­i­cal in her find­ings sur­round­ing the po­lice han­dling of the sus­pected death of Jay An­thony Brog­den who dis­ap­peared from Air­lie Beach al­most eight years ago.

Coro­ner Jane Bent­ley said there was a po­lice obli­ga­tion to re­port a sus­pi­cious death to the coro­ner im­me­di­ately, not al­most three years later as in Mr Brog­den's case.

She rec­om­mended the Queens­land Po­lice Ser­vice con­duct an in­ter­nal au­dit of all files held by the miss­ing per­sons unit to en­sure all dis­ap­pear­ances oc­cur­ring 12 months ago or more had been re­ported to the State Coro­ner as re­quired.

Ms Bent­ley, in hand­ing down her find­ings this week, also rec­om­mended Mr Brog­den's case be trans­ferred to the state's homi­cide squad to be in­ves­ti­gated as a sus­pi­cious death.

An in­quest into Mr Brog­den's death, held this month, heard he was last seen leav­ing his cabin at Reefo's Re­sort at Air­lie Beach on April 21, 2007.

The in­quest was told Mr Brog­den, 21, had been re­ceiv­ing threats for sev­eral months over his treat­ment of his for­mer part­ner.

Mr Brog­den, in a phone call to his mother in Fe­bru­ary, 2007, told her some­one was go- ing to kill him. "Mum, you do not un­der­stand, th­ese peo­ple mean busi­ness . . . peo­ple go miss­ing from up there and are never found," he ap­par­ently said.

The in­quest heard the night be­fore Mr Brog­den dis­ap­peared he got into an ar­gu­ment with his for­mer part­ner at a bar­be­cue and gave her ‘a few slaps’ be­fore walk­ing off and re­turn­ing to his cabin.

Mr Brog­den has not been seen alive since and his body has never been found.

Coro­ner Bent­ley said it was more than likely Mr Brog­den had met with foul play and she was crit­i­cal of how the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was han­dled af­ter it was trans­ferred to the miss­ing per­sons unit.

"The sus­pected death of Mr Brog­den was not re­ported to the State Coro­ner by in­ves­ti­gat­ing po­lice or the miss­ing per­sons unit, ei­ther upon sus­pi­cion of his death or upon the ex­pi­ra­tion of 12 months from his dis­ap­pear­ance," she said.

Ms Bent­ley fur­ther rec­om­mended the po­lice op­er­at­ing man­ual be amended to en­sure a miss­ing per­son is re­ported to the State Coro­ner as soon as the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer sus­pects they are dead or within 12 months of the date of the per­son's dis­ap­pear­ance.

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