'Black lives matter': Mark Haines' family continues to fight for justice
It's been a long 32 years for the family of Mark Haines who are continuing to fight for answers.
The body of the 17-year-old boy was found on train tracks outside of Tamworth on January 16, 1988.
Mark's uncle, Don Craigie, said for 30 years the police have not found the person responsible, despite two coronial inquests, each of which returned open findings.
Mr Craigie is begging anyone who has information to do the right thing and come forward.
"Anyone who may have heard or seen anything, we ask you to come forward," he said.
Mr Craigie believes that due to the fact Mark was Indigenous Australian, the police did not give due diligence to the case.
He explained that the theory was that Mark had travelled in a stolen car, which had crashed and turned over, then in the pouring rain on a dark night he had walked away from Tamworth, climbed up a steep embankment and travelled along 1.5 kilometres of railway line, including over a narrow, dangerous bridge, carrying stolen goods.
Mark was then thought to have laid down between the tracks and waited until the train arrived when he raised his head and was struck by the train.
Mr Craigie said a witness and her daughter would be in a position to tell police that her own son - who had tragically taken his life a little over six months after Mark died - told his family he had driven the stolen car on the night of Mark’s death.
Mr Craigie added Mark's parents and grandmother died without knowing the truth of what happened.
"I do not care what it takes, I am still seeking answers and will continue for as long as I have breath in my body," he said.
In 2016, Greens MP David Shoebridge delivered a speech calling for justice.
The investigation that was carried out by the Oxley Local Area Command could at best be described as substandard," he said at the time.
"Mark’s family continues to be critical of both the extent and the quality of the investigation.
The working theory that was presented by police at the coronial inquiries is clearly utterly untenable."
In a statement, police said they are renewing their appeal for information, as today marks the 32nd anniversary of the death of Tamworth teen, Mark Haines.
"Black lives matter," he said.
Local police investigated the circumstances surrounding the death at the time, later subject to coronial inquiries, which returned an open finding.
Detectives from the Oxley Police District have continued their inquiries into Mark’s death under Strike Force Puno, in both New South Wales and Queensland.
The investigation is being reviewed by the State Crime Command Homicide Squad with reports to be forwarded to the State Coroner.
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Oxley Police District Commander, Acting Superintendent Kylie Endemi believes there are people out there who know what happened to Mark.
“NSW Police Force Police are committed to finding answers about what happened to Mark,” she said.
“Mark’s family have been dealing with the uncertainty of what happened to him for over 30 years; they deserve some closure and peace.
“We believe there are still people around who know exactly what happened to Mark but are either afraid – or unwilling – to share that information with police.
“The government reward, announced in 2018, of up to $500,000 for information remains in place."
Investigators and the police are pleading with anyone with information, no matter how insignificant you think it is, to please do the right thing and call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.