Police launch fresh appeal, and new clue, into years old body in a bag mystery

Police have launched a fresh appeal to identify the decomposed body of a man found inside a cotton bag on a riverbank in a case that has baffled detectives for almost nine years.

A local fisherman made the grim discovery in November 2012 in the early hours of the evening.

They found a cotton-fibre style bag on the bank of the Tweed River at Tumbulgum, about 10km east of Murwillumbah.

Detectives later confirmed the bag contained human remains belonging to a man.

Almost ten years later and the man’s identity, let alone how he died, still remains a mystery.

Police launch fresh appeal, and new clue, into years old body in a bag mystery

Camera IconPolice believe the bag was homemade. NSW Police Credit: Supplied

Last year a forensic artist helped construct a 3D virtual sculpture and digital forensic facial reconstruction replicating what the man may have looked like.

Now police have released an image of that replica in a bid to identify the man as part of National Missing Persons Week.

In 2016 police also renewed an appeal for information after explaining the man was found inside a distinctive, custom-made, plaid-patterned sleeping bag made of Indian cotton.

“You don’t often come across deceased people where nobody knows anything about who they are,” Tweed-Byron Local Area Command’s Detective Inspector Brendon Cullen told reporters at the time.

“Often we don’t know how they died, but when it comes to knowing who they are we usually have a reasonable idea.

“Not in this case.”

Police launch fresh appeal, and new clue, into years old body in a bag mystery

Camera IconA 3D replica image has been released as police try to crack the case. NSW Police Credit: Supplied

The bag is described as about 60cm x 165cm and is made of plaid Indian cotton. The material is blue and off-white check.

“The bag isn’t your normal sleeping bag,” Inspector Cullen said.

“It’s bag-like in its design, but there’s no down in it, just cotton. It’s stronger than a sheet, it’s not a surfboard cover. It’s just this mysterious bag which happened to have a body in it.”

A post mortem examination revealed the man was caucasian and aged between 50 and 70.

He was 163cm tall, with a thin build and grey hair tied in a ponytail with a blue band. He also wore dentures.

Police launch fresh appeal, and new clue, into years old body in a bag mystery

Camera IconThe body was found alongside the Tweed River near Tumbulgum. Liana Boss Credit: News Regional Media

“We have no doubt there are friends and family members somewhere around Australia who have a relative or loved one who just vanished – perhaps they weren’t listed as a missing person at the time,” Inspector Cullen said today.

“Maybe they are someone who you lost contact with in the early 2010s.”

A strike force was established to investigate the bizarre case and detectives are urging anyone with information to come forward.

Police will address the media later on Wednesday with more information.

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