Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Charles TUDAWALI (aka Charlie Martin)

Inquest into the Death of Charles TUDAWALI (aka Charlie Martin)

Delivered on :31 May 2018

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Linton

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : The deceased has not been seen or heard from since 15 December 1976. He was 13 years old when he went missing in bushland near Munja Station, in the far north of Western Australia.  The deceased was an Aboriginal boy who lived with his parents at Mowanjum Mission, near Derby.  He was visiting family at Munja Station around the time of his death.  The deceased had been born with an intellectual disability and was described as having a mental age of a 7 year old.  He had also been diagnosed with epilepsy and was required to take his epilepsy medication three times per day.  He did not know bushcraft and his parents did not believe he would be able to survive long on his own in the bush.

On the morning of 15 December 1976 the deceased had gone with a group of older boys to muster horses. The older boys tried to discourage him from coming with them but he had been determined and he was eventually allowed to accompany them.  When the group decided to return to their camp there was a disagreement as to which way to go home.  The deceased believed he knew the way, even though he was not familiar with the area.  The older boys began to walk home and they believed the deceased was following them from some distance behind but eventually the other boys lost sight of the deceased.  They called out to him and climbed a tree in an effort to locate him but could not find him.

Despite extensive searching conducted by local people and the police, the deceased was not found.

At the conclusion of the inquest the Coroner was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt the deceased died sometime on or about 15 December 1976 after becoming lost in bush in a remote part of Western Australia. The cause of death was unascertained and an open finding was made as to the manner of death.

Catch Words : Missing person : Remote Area : Open Finding.


Last updated: 30-Apr-2019

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