Discovery ultimate success
By SAMANTHA HEALY
FOR detectives Josh Burton and Frank Natoli, finding closure for the families of missing people is their ultimate goal.
And while finding a person alive and well is the ultimate desire, often skeletal remains or evidence that someone may be dead are the end result of months, or even years, of investigations.
Skeletal remains found by bushwalkers in scrub at Mount Warning earlier this month are now believed to be a person missing from Murwillumbah.
Detectives Burton and Natoli are investigating the matter.
But they are just two Tweed detectives who spend their working days tracking missing people - talking to families, tracing last-known whereabouts, searching high and low for answers for those left behind.
"It doesn't shock you so much. You have to look past what it is," Detective Natoli said yesterday.
"You like to get a result even if it is a body because at least then the family can get closure."
But despite the very structured way police work to find answers, the truth is, they can be just as affected by the cases they are trying to solve.
"When you work a missing persons case you get close to the family," Detective Burton said.
"But if you let it affect you, you don't do the job as well as you should.
"When it gets tough you just talk to your workmates."
Detectives who search for missing people say the most common thread in most cases is mental health.
"People who go missing are from all walks of life they are across all age groups, religions, backgrounds," Det Burton said.
"Here (in the Tweed/Byron Local Area Command) the biggest issue is it's such a transient area.
"A lot of cases are solved within the first 48 hours but some go long term. We just keep looking and think outside the square."
"It can get frustrating. You follow up a lead and it comes to nothing, you hit a brick wall," Det Natoli said.
"You just keep hitting brick walls until you break through one."