DNA advances help identify man missing for 24 years

·1-min read
Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS

A Northern Territory man missing in the Outback for 24 years has been identified thanks to new police forensic techniques.

The NT Police Missing Persons Unit and Forensic Science Branch and the AFP's National DNA Program for Unidentified and Missing Persons teamed up to match unidentified human remains to long-term missing man Owen Ryder.

In August 1999, Mr Ryder's wife noticed her husband had not returned to their home at Kwala Outstation, about 10km East of Hermannsburg in the NT.

His disappearance was reported to police after community members made several unsuccessful attempts to locate and track him.

Police also conducted an extensive search by land and air but were unable to locate Mr Ryder, who was last seen in the vicinity of the Larapinta Drive and Wallace Rockhole Road intersection.

In 2004, the coroner declared Mr Ryder dead.

Police established a crime scene after unidentified human remains were located in February 2007 in a paddock about 8km from where Mr Ryder was last seen.

Investigators conducted a forensic analysis of the remains but were unable to extract a DNA profile at the time.

As part of the AFP's National DNA Program, a sample from the unidentified human remains was sent to the AFP laboratory in Canberra last year.

A partial DNA profile was recovered and database searching resulted in a successful match confirming the remains found in 2007 were Mr Ryder's.

Police said the NTPFES Biology Unit had substantially increased its capability to recover DNA from remains, resulting in identifications.

Anyone who has a missing family member is urged to contact the NT Police Missing Persons Unit on 131 444 to discuss providing DNA.