$200k twist in Mackay riddle

MURDER SCENE: Don Mackay’s mini-van in the carpark of the Griffith Hotel, where he was last seen on July 15, 1977 – 35 years to the day on Sunday.
MURDER SCENE: Don Mackay’s mini-van in the carpark of the Griffith Hotel, where he was last seen on July 15, 1977 – 35 years to the day on Sunday.

THE hunt for the remains of Don Mackay has taken a dramatic twist after the state government announced it would post a $200,000 reward for information leading to his last resting place.

Almost 35 years to the day since the anti-drugs crusader was killed in cold blood, the government revealed it would double the current reward and alter the conditions so a payout could be given on the location of Mr Mackay’s body, rather than purely on a murder conviction.

Griffith police commander Superintendent Michael Rowan said he was “confident” a number of people still living in Griffith knew where Mr Mackay’s remains were dumped, urging them to come forward “anonymously if needed”.

Mr Mackay, 43, was shot dead in the car park of the Griffith Hotel on July 15, 1977 – 35 years ago on Sunday – in a crime that has forever scarred the image of the city.

Triggerman James Bazley was jailed for 15 years for conspiring to murder Mr Mackay, but has stubbornly refused to reveal where he dumped the body.

Mr Mackay’s son Paul Mackay welcomed the reward boost – the first time it has been increased since 1981 – and said the discovery of his father’s remains was an important step for his family and his community.

“It is still important for the people of Griffith as well as our family to see those people still living in our community who conspired to murder our father brought to justice,” Mr Mackay said.

“Our family has always wanted the opportunity to pay our final respects to our father. This was the heartfelt wish of our mother, who sadly is no longer alive.

“We welcome any positive development and we’ve always been hopeful but not confident Dad’s remains would be found.”

The change to the reward conditions will be announced on Sunday but were revealed exclusively to The Area News this week.

“We are confident someone knows what happened to Mr Mackay’s body, and in what we believe may be a last-ditch effort to solve this matter, we are appealing for them to come forward,” Superintendent Rowan said.

“It has left a family forever wondering, and a community stained by events that occurred before many of its residents were born.

“In the decades since Mr Mackay’s disappearance, police have investigated many tip-offs about the location of his remains, to no avail.”

He said police were also appealing for information that may assist the ongoing murder investigation by the Unsolved Homicide Team.

The Woodward Royal Commission named six men – including mafia kingpin Bob Trimbole – who may have ordered Mr Mackay’s assassination.

No one has ever been charged with the murder.

Anyone with information about the murder or the whereabouts of Mr Mackay’s remains is urged to contact Griffith Detectives on 6969 4310 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

They can also write confidentially to Griffith Police commander Michael Rowan, care of Griffith Police Station, Railway Street, Griffith, NSW, 2680.