Missing man ‘likely’ dead


A month after police appealed for fresh information about a man whose disappearance eight years ago sparked speculation he had faked his own death, detectives now think it’s “more than likely” he’s dead.

Queenstown police have received no new sightings or leads into the mysterious 2008 disappearance of Matthew Alexander Hamill.

Cops say they’re keeping an open mind, but given the appeal attracted no new information, Detective Matt Jones told the New Zealand Herald: “It is considered more than likely that he is in fact deceased.

“Next of kin and friends of Mr Hamill have been contacted as a matter of course.”

Hamill, who would now be 65 years old, was last seen in the Frankton area of Queenstown on the afternoon of October 29, 2008.

His Mitsubishi vehicle was found the following day at a lookout point on State Highway 8 at Cromwell.

Inside the car was a note indicating Hamill intended to take his own life.

Some of Hamill’s personal belongings were also found at the Roaring Meg lookout and down a steep bank near his vehicle, leading down to the Kawarau River.

But Hamill’s body was never found.

Police reopened their missing persons case in December 2009, just over a year after Hamill’s disappearance, saying they were not convinced he was dead.

Now, police believe his disappearance is not thought to be suspicious and that evidence located at the time suggests that he intended to take his own life.

There has been no activity on Hamill’s bank or internet accounts since his disappearance, police confirm.

Police inquiries found Hamill appeared to make regular transactions at Oamaru and also had ties in Auckland and overseas in Vietnam.

Interpol has been helping with overseas inquiries, and a border alert remains in place, Jones says.

David Onions — the general manager of Millbrook, the resort near Arrowtown where Hamill worked as the food and beverage purchase manager for two years — said at the time there was “absolutely nothing” to suggest Hamill was alive.

“The family consider Matthew missing presumed dead and they don’t want to reopen the whole matter,” he said.

“The conjecture seems to be because no body was found, but the reality is they don’t always appear.”

Hamill was born in Northern Ireland and had a tattoo of a black and green turtle on his right shoulder. He left his homeland at a young age and was well-travelled, including time spent in Canada.

He was survived by several children from more than two partners.

Despite the lack of leads, Queenstown police say they are still interested to hear from “anyone who has information regarding Mr Hamill’s disappearance and anyone who believed they may have sighted Mr Hamill” after October 30, 2008.

Anyone with information can contact Queenstown Police on 03 441 1600, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.