DETECTIVES believe this yellow ute could hold vital DNA clues to solving the murder of Bingara man Darren Willis.
The 1980 model XD Ford Falcon ute was bought by two men in Bingara in 2010, and investigators believe it was used in the killing of the 45-year-old before his body was dumped. His remains have never been found.
On Thursday, New England police and Strike Force Barca detectives – the police operation set up to find those behind the murder – made a fresh public appeal to find the location of the early-model ute.
Detective Inspector Ann Joy said police believe it could be in Queensland now, and holds critical pieces of the murder puzzle – unbeknownst to the owners.
“Regardless of its condition, Strike Force Barca investigators believe it could still be of significant forensic value if located,” she said.
Officers want to comb the ute and believe it had a V8 Chevrolet motor that would “spark the interests of car enthusiasts”.
“This particular vehicle was purchased by two men in Bingara in 2011,” Detective Inspector Joy said.
“We're hoping to identify those two men who we feel can assist with those inquiries.”
Detectives said the car could have been sold for parts or restoration and “is not currently registered” but could have been “transported interstate, potentially Queensland”.
“It is a vehicle that we believe is linked to the death, the suspicious death, of Darren Royce Willis,” Detective Inspector Joy said.
Mr Willis, also known as “Spaz”, disappeared after leaving the Imperial Hotel on Maitland Street on the night of December 10, 2010.
His body has never been found, but a breakthrough in the case in 2018 turned the long-term missing person report into a murder cold case – prompting a $350,000 reward for any information that leads police to his killers.
Already, detectives have identified “persons of interest”.
In July, senior officers confirmed a yellow ute was at the centre of the murder probe, detectives suspecting it was used to dispose of Mr Willis’ body, and asked to hear from anyone who had seen it in the Bingara area between 2010 and 2011.
In late May, as part of the murder probe, specialist officers and divers combed the river and its banks in the Eaglehawk Reserve, or Four Mile area as its known to locals, on the outskirts of Bingara.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Moree detectives on 6757 0799.