“Evidence has previously been obtained which confirmed Naden had been in the Barrington Tops area,” Det Insp Newham said.
“Confirmation of his presence was established on two separate previous occasions, the first being in May 2007 at Stewarts Brook (Barrington Tops) in relation to a reported break, enter and steal offence. The second incident occurred in November 2008 at Misty Mountains (Barrington Tops) in relation to another break, enter and steal offence.”
There have not been any confirmed sightings since, although that hasn’t stopped media chasing phantoms.
In 2009, media widely reported Naden had stood over a sleeping woman near Bellbrook, west of Kempsey wearing camouflage gear and a mask. The Coffs Coast Advocate was still reporting the story as recently as February this year.
In March, the Wauchope Gazette reported a man matching Naden’s description was sighted near Birdwood, a tiny north coast town. Armed police swooped on the area, and took material in for forensic testing. The Gazette reported Naden had been sighted two years earlier in Wauchope.
Just last month, the Inverell Times dispelled widespread rumours that Naden had been photographed on security cameras at the local Big W store.
Despite the media excitement, police say they act on all information.
“All alleged sightings have been investigated by police,” Det Insp Newham said.
“It has proven difficult to locate and arrest Naden as he generally avoids human contact, possesses significant bush craft and survival skills and does not use mobile telephones, bank accounts or vehicles.”
But this hasn’t slowed the sightings reported in local media. Det Insp Newham told Tracker that while media had generally been helpful, these stories can sometimes be at a detriment to the investigation.
For example, stories about Malcolm being in Kempsey in 2007 caused a riot, despite police claiming there was no absolute evidence he was in the area.
“The publication of unsubstantiated stories alluding to possible sightings, or the whereabouts of Naden, can cause unfounded fear and angst among the local community,” Det Insp Newham said.
But while police have lined up media for their reporting, Mick Peet has lined up the police.
“I’ve been unable to get any information out of them as to where the case is at, and where it is going. For six years I have been trying to get information on what happened to my daughter,” he says.
“Nobody wants to say. I ask so many questions and nobody will give me any answers.
“It makes me sick to think my daughter has gone, another young girl has been murdered and Malcolm is wanted but no one can find him.”
Mick doesn’t believe police are doing enough.
“They need to get the facts out to the public,” he says.
“Where has Naden been seen? Have they got DNA or prints to say where he has been? What’s his last known place?
“There are so many people out there that can’t believe he has not been caught.”
He says that he has heard sightings are not investigated quickly enough.
“I have spoken to people that have made sightings and they say the same thing – the police have sometimes taken days to come and see them.
“This question needs to be answered.”
NSW Police say they’re doing all they can to follow up sightings. But Tony, as well, is clearly frustrated that after six long years, Naden has not been caught.
He says the fact that both victims were Aboriginal may be a possible reason why it has taken so long.
“It amazes me, because if this was a non-Indigenous person, they would have been rounded up by now. They would have been caught,” he says.
“I don’t want to say it as a true statement but I think it’s a possibility. We are Aboriginal people living in a white man’s world. We’re being governed by white rules, and policies and laws.”
Mick also agrees that Aboriginality could play a part in a lack of knowledge about the case in the general community.
But he also acknowledges that there are a large number of missing persons – white and black – throughout Australia, who also don’t draw much media attention.
Margaret agrees that racism has played a small part in the case not being picked up quickly. She points to the fact Kristy’s death was first classed as suicide. But all agree this is a case that should not be divided by race.
It’s the story of two mothers. Six children. Three families. And all of them want the same thing. For information on Naden’s whereabouts to be provided to the police. That people keep their eyes open. That they remain vigilant.
“I can plainly see families sitting around, going about their day to day business, they have their own issues, and their own cares,” says Tony.
“If they were to open their minds up to these issues, this issue with Malcolm Naden, read the news and the stories relating to him, they might be able to understand what this family is feeling and what Lateesha’s family is feeling.
“Come forward. Let the police know, take the information to the police straight away.”
Margaret echoes Tony’s calls for anyone with information to contact police.
“We just would like anyone who has any information about Lateesha or Kristy to come forward. A lot of people must have information; someone’s got to know something.
“So we just ask if anyone’s got any information, little or big, just to let the police know.”
Until then, the truth about what happened to two loved Aboriginal mothers will stay in hiding with Malcolm Naden.
• Help find Malcolm Naden
Malcolm Naden is 177 centimetres tall. When he disappeared, he weighed around 85 kilograms, and had a medium build. He has brown eyes and used to have a shaved head and a goatee.
He is, however, likely to have changed his appearance. Naden is wanted not only for the murders of two Aboriginal mothers, but on charges of child molestation. If you have urgent information about Naden’s whereabouts please phone ‘000’. Otherwise, contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.
All information will be dealt with in the strictest confidence, and you can remain anonymous if you wish. A reward of up to $100,000 is payable to anyone who provides information that leads to Naden’s arrest.