Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of David Davidson Lawson

Delivered on 18 March 2016 at Perth.

Finding of Coroner King.


The deceased was a 41 year old Aboriginal man who was last seen at the Jinyaadi Homestead on the Dampier Peninsula. He was last seen on Saturday 9 October 2010.

The deceased had lived for approximately five years at his family’s bush property about 180 kilometres by road northeast of Broome on the eastern side of the Dampier Peninsular on King Sound. He had good bush skills, with the ability to live off the land and knowledge of the location of fresh springs around the property. He had a history of acute psychosis from alcohol withdrawal.

On 9 October 2010 members of the deceased’s family visited him on the property. The deceased was acting strangely. He was agitated and was hearing voices. He was afraid that the Featherfoot, an evil spirit, was going to kill them all. His family managed to calm him down, but when they awoke the next morning, he was gone.

A search for the deceased was made by his family but they saw no tracks or any other sign of the deceased. The deceased would normally take a dog with him if he went into the bush but had not done so on this occasion. His car was still at the property. Water containers, spears and torches also remained at the property. The deceased’s family contacted police.

Despite extensive searching by police, Fire and Emergency Services Authority and State Emergency Services on land and by aircraft, no sign of the deceased was been found.

Following the initial search, the deceased made no contact with family and did not access Centrelink or his bank account.

The Coroner was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that the deceased has died but was not able to find the cause of death.  The Coroner made an open finding as to how death occurred.

Catch Words

Missing Person : Dampier Peninsula : Alcohol Abuse : Acute Psychosis : Bush Survival : Open Finding.

Last updated: 16 August 2022

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