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  • Writer's pictureValentine Smith

Warren Meyer Missing in the Australian bush (Murder or Misadventure?)​

Updated: Jan 27, 2023


Introduction:

There have been many investigative probes and reviews into the missing person case of Warren Gerard Meyer since he disappeared in March of 2008. Most investigations were carried out by Victoria Police, as well as some on behalf of the Victorian State Coroner.

The author (Valentine Smith) first became involved in this case in February 2018, with the first limited review completed by him in October of that year. The author is now the Chief Executive Officer of MiPerNet (Missing Persons Network), which is a company dedicated to improving agency responses to missing persons cases by identifying gaps in investigative, intelligence and information capture and management.


To follow MiPerNet on Facebook visit: www.facebook.com/Missing-Persons-Network-107638554725890/

The Warren Meyer case is an investigation of interest to MiPerNet and featured in a 5-minute TV segment on Channel 10, The Project at 6.30pm on Sunday 14 March 2021[1] - Click here for 5-minute TV link: https://fb.watch/4iHfKbynv3/

An Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in-depth radio podcast on this case is also accessible via[2]: click her for ABC Radio link; https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/place-people-mystery-disappear/1321543

This is a brief insight into the case[3].

Background:

On Easter Sunday 23 March 2008, fifty-seven-year-old father and husband, Warren Meyer, decided to park his white Subaru station wagon at Dom Dom Saddle, on the Black Spur near Narbethong, Victoria, Australia, and go for what, to him, would be ‘a walk in the park’.

It was about 7.30am and Warren, an experienced bushwalker, left the holiday cabin at Healesville, where he and his wife Zanette were staying. His plan was to drive the short fifteen-minute Maroondah Highway route up the Black Spur to Dom Dom Saddle, park his car, and go for a three to four-hour hike before returning to Healesville to join Zanette and friends for a scheduled 1pm lunch. Later that day Zanette and friends would find his locked and lonely vehicle parked in the car park at the Saddle. He was never seen again.

The subsequent search for Warren was massive, involving all the resources Victoria Police Search and Rescue could muster, including locals and volunteers from Bush Search and Rescue Victoria (BSAR) who tramped the bush in often demanding conditions. With search aircraft overhead for days, they walked the tracks and line searched the heavy bush, but sadly nothing was found. Since 2008, family, Victoria Police search and rescue specialists and BSAR have returned to the location to conduct further searches, but still nothing has surfaced to assist in resolving this mystery.

What happened to Warren? He was a man who was used to the bush and hiking, having trekked the Kokoda trail in Papua New Guinea, the Himalayas, the Andes, and most of the very arduous trails that Victoria could offer. This was an easy walk for him. He was extremely fit and in excellent health. The standard equipment he carried was typical of his careful preparation for any unforeseen event. It included GPS, fully charged mobile telephone, maps, compass, whistle and everything else an experienced and responsible hiker knows should be carried.

Warren was not a hiker who wandered off the track and, if he did, for perhaps a nature call, his pack would be placed on the track at the point of entry until his return. Yet, after days of searching, there was no sign of Warren, his equipment, nothing.


Who else was in the woods?

Subsequent information that became available as to who was in that bush over the Easter weekend in 2008 revealed some interesting detail.

Reliable information was provided by several locals, including a witness, known as ‘a responsible and very experienced hunter’. These witnesses described what they referred to as, “out of control shooting” coming from the vicinity of the ‘Monda track,’ near its junction with ‘The Old Coach road’, just off the Maroondah Highway.

Bullet riddled trail post at Dom Dom shown in image above

The shooting was described as about two hundred rapid-fire high-powered rifle shots occurring over a two-hour period on the late Saturday afternoon of 22 March 2008, with another period of rapid bursts of similar quantity gunfire, occurring on Sunday 23 March 2008, commencing at about 8.20 am and concluding abruptly around 9am, which is within the approximate time frame that Warren would have been at that location, presuming he went that way as expected.

The Meyer family and MiPerNet want to know who those shooters were. It has been suggested by some people that the shots may have been fired by deer hunters. Without evidence to support that theory it is not accepted by MiPerNet, the family, nor local bushmen and hunters. Generally, reputable deer hunters might fire one, maybe two shots if they are lucky, or perhaps a few more if sighting in, not two hundred. These people were blasting away at something else.

Most bushmen and hunters are good blokes who usually know what is going on in the bush. Someone out there will know something or have heard something, and we want to hear about it. With regards to the shooters, through our investigations it is likely that we will find out who they were. In the meantime, it would be beneficial if at least one of them made early contact with us so that it can be determined, sooner rather than later, what they may know about this case.

There were other people known to have been in the bush the day Warren Meyer disappeared. One was reported as an escaped psychiatric patient with alleged homicidal ideations. This man was discounted as a person of interest by Victoria Police investigators, who had calculated that it was not possible, given some of his known movements, that he could have met up with Warren Meyer within the time frames available. I conducted an intense review of some aspects of the case and proved that these initial police calculations were incorrect, with the error reported to both Victoria Police and the Coroner by me in late 2018.

On the Easter weekend of 2018 I walked the seventeen kilometres return trip along bush tracks from where Mr. Meyer’s vehicle was to where the psychiatric patient was eventually seen by independent witnesses. There was at least a twenty-minute window of opportunity where that man and Mr. Meyer could have met anywhere along that track. These calculations have now been confirmed by Victoria Police.

In another interesting twist, I discovered that at the time of Mr. Meyer’s disappearance there was another vehicle parked in the same bush car park at Dom Dom saddle near Mr. Meyer’s white Subaru. This vehicle, a white Toyota utility, was seen by family on the afternoon of 23 March 2008 and remained unattended for at least two more days, until it was collected by the apparent owners on 25 March 2008. Apart from Mr. Meyer’s vehicle it was the only vehicle known to be left in the car park on the day of his disappearance.

The presence of this lone vehicle did not feature in any police or coroner’s reports and was not considered by police until it was raised in my 2018 review. MiPerNet consider this vehicle and those who parked it there to be an avenue of enquiry in the Warren Meyer case. We now know who they are, their background, and are aware of some of their movements in and around the time of Warren’s disappearance. What we would like is for all of them to contact us or Victoria Police so that we can find out what were they doing there and if they encountered Mr. Meyer or perhaps noted someone or something of interest to this investigation. Again, we strongly suggest they contact us before we must make contact with them.

We are also aware that there were a number of marijuana crops in the bush at that time, some showing signs of recent harvesting, again we would like some contact with those ‘horticulturists’, purely to gain any knowledge that they may have that can assist in resolving this case.

Summing up:

There are still a few aspects of this case that need to be followed up. There are some who believe that Mr. Meyer had a heart attack or died because of some other natural cause. Whilst most things are possible, there is no evidence or information to suggest death by misadventure. On the contrary there were however several identified risks to Mr. Meyer on that Easter Sunday in 2008 that are linked to human intervention.

There has been considerable negativity displayed by some to any suggestion that Warren Meyer’s disappearance could be attributable to other than natural misadventure. Knowing that but not compromising the search for the truth I spent many weeks of agonising consideration before concluding my findings as more weighted towards human intervention. I considered everything, analysed every element and entity in the bush environment at the time of Warren Meyer’s disappearance and profiled his known behaviour, skills and personality. There was no information, intelligence or evidence that strengthened the probability of natural misadventure over that of human intervention.

It must be understood that the findings of my review were based on known information and evidence and on the balance of probabilities, and focused on two scenarios, that of either natural misadventure or human intervention. In reviewing all the information available my findings highlighted a greater degree of the risk of human intervention. Therefore, on the balance of probabilities that is the most likely influence on Warren Meyer’s disappearance. This does not yet point the finger of criminal responsibility against any person, that would require a far greater burden of proof. It merely weighs up the risks on that day.

It may be that some other unexpected incident influenced this case, almost anything is possible. However, until other information or evidence is known the investigative priority must be to enquire into those identified human intervention risks, to either eliminate or confirm any as a priority for a more concentrated investigation.

From the perspective of the Victorian Coroner’s office and the Victoria Police, the interest into the disappearance of Warren Meyer remains open until such time it is known exactly what happened to him.

From the family’s perspective, they will never stop their pursuit in needing to know the truth and finding and bringing Warren’s remains home. There is no rest for the family. The tragedy for family is not knowing what happened to the husband, the father, and now the grandfather of children who will never know him.

Contact with MiPerNet:

Investigations into the Warren Meyer case is being conducted by MiPerNet (Missing Persons Network) a private company of investigative, media and communications specialists focusing on identifying investigative gaps in cold case missing persons in the wilderness and missing person abductions/homicides.

I can be reached at contact@mipernet.com. I am now the founder and CEO of MiPerNet. We will take all information, even anonymously if that is preferred. Alternatively and preferably, those with information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via https://www.crimestoppersvic.com.au/ and specify that it is about the Warren Meyer missing person case in Victoria. We also encourage anyone receiving this release to spread it amongst their friends, in the chance that someone somewhere will know something about the disappearance of Warren Meyer.

If you wish to discuss media opportunities or our communications capabilities, please contact Bob Grieve, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Communications, MiPerNet at contact@mipernet.com

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[1] Missing Persons: Where Is Warren? – Channel 10 The Project – Produced and directed by Soraya Lennie.

[2] The place where people mysteriously disappear – ABC Radio - Produced and directed by Ashlynne McGhee, on ABC Background Briefing

[3] Written by Valentine Smith MiPerNet © 2019

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