Thursday June 13 2013
– In a lettuce paddock outside the New South Wales Riverina town of Hay, police may be about to solve one of the biggest mysteries in the nation’s history: the 1977 murder of anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay.
A political wannabe and police informant, Mackay was murdered more than 30 years ago, just two days after confessing he was a marked man, the target of the notorious local Mafia.
Dozens of police acting under the direction of the NSW Unsolved Homicide Squad on Wednesday converged on a rural property about 150 kilometres from where Mackay was last seen, his home town of Griffith.
Locals said police were seen buying hundreds of dollars worth of shovels in town before heading to the property on Maude Road, outside Hay.
Tents were erected and an excavator was brought in about 4pm to help. A father of four, Mackay went missing after leaving the Griffith Hotel on July 15th, 1977, where he had been drinking with friends.
The development comes almost a year after Fairfax Media revealed that a police tip-off had given them new hope.
It is believed that after months of meticulous checking and research, police have pinpointed the spot leading to this week’s development.
The property – which is just land with a shed – is owned by Con Fattore, 79, who lives in Hay.
When contacted last night and asked if it was his property police were searching, Mr Fattore said: “Yeah, what do you want to know for?”
Mr Fattore, who does not live on the property, refused to say more.
But his neighbour, John Mirabelli, said Griffith detectives had questioned him on Tuesday and said they were looking for we well or bore about three to four kilometres out of Hay.
“They seemed to have a direction to a point and the particular part they were looking at is close to Maude a Road,” he said. “They asked me about whether we had a well on our property. It was obvious they had a tip-off of some description – Lisa Davies, Daisy Huntley & Kate McClymont