Longtime missing NZ man’s case closed; he was never found

Per the New Zealand Herald, 19-year-old baker Graeme Timlin has been declared legally dead after having been missing nearly fifty years. Circumstances:

The coronial inquest at the Hamilton District Court yesterday heard that Mr Timlin vanished from his bakery in the city on May 15, 1965.

An assistant baker, Carol Sanders, arrived at work that day to find the shop locked and Mr Timlin’s Bedford van gone, but an oven was still hot and baking sat on the bench as if Mr Timlin had “just popped out”. She reported him missing and police began a search the next day.

Five days later his van was found abandoned at Mt Maunganui with two flat tyres. Inside were three cigarette packets. Mr Timlin did not smoke.

Police searched ships at the Port of Tauranga but, despite being in dire financial straits with his business, Mr Timlin was not thought to have tried to flee to Australia.

The case was wound down until three weeks later when Mr Timlin’s mother, Ursula Purchase, read an article in the Herald about a body that had been found on Kawau Island. She went to Auckland but police had not been able to find the body so she found the fisherman who identified Mr Timlin as the body he saw.

Timlin was one of those MPs featured in Scott Bainbridge’s book Without Trace: On the Trail of New Zealand Missing Persons.

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