Police reveal new theory behind man’s disappearance

 

MISSING Victorian man Milan Lemic is not the first to drop off the face of the Earth in the Daintree.

Police will tomorrow suspend a 10-day search for the missing 29-year-old on the civilized edge of the world's most ancient rainforest.

Officers believe - like many others who live incognito and off-the-grid in the Daintree - it is possible he simply does not want to be found.

"We can only make the assumption he is actively avoiding police, he may not be," Senior Sergeant Ed Lukin said.

He follows in the footsteps of US fugitive cannabis kingpin Raymond Grady Stansel Jr who lived a double-life as a crocodile tour guide on the Daintree River or the notorious "Tarzan" Michael Fomenko who spent six decades living rough in the jungles of Cape York.

But, in a ray of hope for his distraught family, police are investigating a "credible but unconfirmed" sighting of Mr Lemic picking mangoes from a tree at a park in Daintree Village on Boxing Day.

 

The new picture of missing Victorian man Milan Lemic.
The new picture of missing Victorian man Milan Lemic.

 

"We would like to put the family's mind at rest,'' Snr Sgt Lukin, the Far North's search and rescue coordinator, said.

"They are very loving parents, obviously they are very concerned about the absence of their child.

"I'd like to make an appeal to the missing person to contact his family or contact police."

Police using drones, SES search crews and locals on quad bikes and horseback spent more than a week searching farmland, jungle and croc-infested waterways over Christmas with no sign of the missing man.

Inexplicably, Mr Lemic abandoned his black Holden ute after it got bogged in sand at Baird's Crossing in the upper Daintree River on December 22.

He left behind his mobile phone, and within 25 minutes of a local farmer going to get a tractor to help pull him out, he disappeared without a trace.

Home to what locals call "big lizards", it was initially suggested he may have been snatched by a large crocodile.

 

Senior Sergeant Ed Lukin giving an update on Victorian man Milan Lemic missing in the Daintree. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN
Senior Sergeant Ed Lukin giving an update on Victorian man Milan Lemic missing in the Daintree. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

 

"There are particular dangers in the Daintree, this sighting gives us hope,'' Snr Sgt Lukin said.

"His family are very distraught over his disappearance. He has only ever gone for a short period of time, he's always contacted his parents, He's always returned, his actions are very much out of character."

His family flew up to join the search - as his last phone call to them was to ask for money - and his mother and sister plan to make a public appeal tomorrow.

Unlike others hiding out in the jungle of far north Queensland, he's not wanted by police, the taxman or an ex-wife over unpaid alimony.

For 40 years, Lee Lafferty aka US cannabis kingpin Raymond Grady Stansel Jr, a "soldier of fortune" out of Florida, lived in the Daintree after faking his death in a scuba diving accident in Honduras.

The late 78-year-old fugitive boat skipper made millions out of trafficking tonnes of marijuana into the United States before his arrest in 1974, then aged 37, and fled to start afresh in the wilds of far North Queensland.

Like a glimpse of Neolithic Man, the late Michael "Tarzan" Fomenko was a totemic figure of folklore who lived rough in the jungles of the Daintree and Cape York after he renounced "what you call civilization".