- Jeremiah Rivers’ family spent months searching for him after he went missing in 2021
- Police are treating the case as suspicious but no charges have been laid
- Missing man’s companion continues to evade police over unrelated charges
An inquest will be held to investigate the fate of a Kimberley man who went missing during a pig-hunting trip in outback Queensland in 2021.
Since a coronial investigation into the disappearance of Jeremiah Rivers started in March last year, family members have called for an inquest in the hope such an examination of the baffling case would lead to a breakthrough.
The ABC has now confirmed Queensland coroner Donald MacKenzie has decided to proceed with an inquest, potentially in the latter half of this year.
A spokesperson for the Queensland Coroners Court said in a statement that a pre-inquest conference would be held in Brisbane on June 20.
“The coroner will traverse a number of matters, including which individuals or corporations can appear or have representatives appear, what issues are to be considered, which witnesses will be called, the length and place of the inquest, and the contents of the brief of evidence,” a spokesperson said.
The case has caused deep heartache in the Indigenous community of Warmun and the wider East Kimberley, where many of the Gija man’s relatives live.
This week family members gathered to mark what would have been Mr Rivers’ 29th birthday.
The ABC approached the family for comment and understands they welcomed the inquest and hoped it would lead to a breakthrough.
His loved ones also spent months searching the vast outback landscape where he disappeared but could not find any clues to his whereabouts.
Jayo vanished on pig hunting road trip
The missing man’s six companions told police he walked away from their campsite and never returned on the morning of October 18, 2021 at Wippo Creek, near Noccundra in south-west Queensland.
The group of seven were making their way from Balranald — in southern New South Wales, where Mr Rivers had been playing football — to Darwin.
They hunted pigs along the way and police said they crossed from NSW into Queensland by breaking through a gate, at a time of COVID-19 border restrictions.
After a week-long search police announced they were treating the case as suspicious and homicide detectives were involved.
Police said at the time their initial interviews with Mr Rivers’ companions found inconsistencies in their stories.
One of those men, Jojo Kantilla, told the ABC earlier last year he initially gave family and police different versions of his last contact with Mr Rivers because he was not thinking straight while coming down from taking the drug ice during the road trip.
No charges have been laid over Mr Rivers’ disappearance.
Warrant remains for Travis Clare
Another of Mr Rivers’ companions, Travis Clare, has spent a year evading police over a series of unrelated criminal matters.
Queensland Police charged Mr Clare with assault offences and possessing dangerous drugs after he was arrested in Noosaville, on the Sunshine Coast, on April 18, 2022.
Police allege the Melbourne man assaulted a person multiple times in a domestic violence incident.
Mr Clare was released on bail, but an arrest warrant was issued on June 7 after he did not attend Noosa Magistrates Court.
A Queensland Police spokesperson said Mr Clare was still wanted on a warrant and his location was unknown.
Mr Clare has spent recent years living and working in Melbourne as a concreter, according to his Facebook.
The ABC is not suggesting Mr Clare, Mr Kantilla, or any of the other men are connected in any way with Mr Rivers’ disappearance.