Paddy Moriarty was a creature of habit in a small Outback community where the publican would call the police if one of his regular customers would not show up at the bar.
So everyone in Larrimah knew right away that something was wrong when Paddy and his dog couldn't be found in their city, about 500 miles southeast of Darwin.
More than 18 months after the last known sighting of the 70-year-old and his kelpie cross Kellie, the dozens of residents of Larrimah still do not know what happened to the retired farmer.
He walked out of the Pink Panther Hotel at dusk on December 16, 2017, got on his red quad with Kellie and was gone.
The Irish-born Paddy, who had no family in Australia, was last seen with a singlet, dark pants, a silver watch, and black leather straps.
The strange disappearance of Paddy Moriarty is one of the 13 mysteries that can be seen in a new book by crime writer Justine Ford, called Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girls.
Paddy Moriarty (photo) walked about 5 hours south of Darwin from the Larrimah hotel at dusk on December 16, 2017. He boarded his red quad with his Kelpie cross Kellie and was never seen again. Police feared the 70-year-old Stockman, born in Ireland, had to deal with cheating
Paddy Moriarty drank every day at the Larrimah Hotel, also known as the Wayside Inn and the Pink Panther. He descended eight cans of XXXX Gold beer and then drove the 200 meters home
Paddy Moriarty left his hat (pictured), keys, cash and cards at his home, friends of items said he would never go out without it. Paddy & # 39; s house was just 200 meters from the local pub
Ford writes that if the suspected Paddy murder had taken place in a more decent place, the reader would think the story came from the pages of a crime novel by Agatha Christie.
& # 39; The story of Paddy's disappearance has all the ingredients for a classic whodunnit & # 39 ;, Ford writes in Lost Boys, Gone Girls. & # 39; A disappearance that got out of hand, a detective consumed by the case, colorful local characters and long-lasting rivalries. & # 39;
Larrimah is nowadays not much more than a pub, a garbage dump and a cake shop.
When the first city detectives responded to a report that Paddy was missing, they had a five-hour drive on the Stuart Highway from the capital of the Northern Territory.
Detective Sergeant Matt Allen was in charge of a study related to logistical challenges, including the extreme distance from the city from the start.
There was no CCTV, no coverage for mobile phones and no other useful modern technology.
A forensic team sent by Darwin on Christmas Eve, nine days after Paddy & # 39; s last trip to the pub, searched his home, his garden, and his Toyota HiLux.
& # 39; The story of Paddy's disappearance has all the ingredients for a classic whodunnit & # 39 ;, writes Justine Ford, author of crime stories in Lost Boys, Gone Girls. & # 39; A disappearance that got out of hand, a detective consumed by the case, colorful local characters and long-lasting rivalries & # 39;
Larrimah, on the Stuart Highway, is located about 500 kilometers southeast of Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, and about 180 kilometers southeast of Katherine's municipal seat.
Paddy Moriarty never left without his 12 month old kelpie cross Kellie (photo)
His reading glasses were still on a table, Kellie had food in her bowl, and Paddy & # 39; s hat, cash, and cards were still in the house.
A three-day search with motorcycles and a helicopter began on December 28 and covered 85 square kilometers, but revealed nothing.
The local tip, about a mile from Paddy's house, was dismantled in January and there was nothing useful anymore.
The police found no evidence of a traffic accident, no sign that Paddy and Kellie were taken by wild dogs or pigs, and no sinkholes that contained a body.
One of the strongest indicators Paddy had against cheating was a cooked Woolworths chicken in a December 16 bag found in his microwave.
The boy was bought by a tourist and given to Paddy the last night he was seen in the pub.
What happened to Paddy Moriarty is an Outback mystery that the Ford and the Northern Territory Police hope readers can ultimately help solve.
The police found no evidence of a traffic accident, no sign that Paddy and Kellie were caught by wild boar and no sinkholes that contained a body. What happened to Paddy Moriarty is an Outback mystery that Ford and the Northern Territory Police hope readers can help solve
A search for Paddy Moriarty's house in Larrimah revealed no signs that he wanted to disappear. His money and cards were still in the house and his reading glasses were on a table
The following is an edited extract from Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girls by Justine Ford (Macmillan Australia) RRP $ 32.99, now available:
& # 39; He was a great guy, one of the best guys in this city, without a bar, & # 39; says Barry Sharpe, the former owner of the gloriously quirky bushpub the Larrimah Pink Panther Hotel, which – no surprise here – has a giant pink panther in front. The pub is also home to the Big Stubby and has a zoo full of rescued wildlife – including a three and a half meter saltwater croquette called Sneaky Sam.
Paddy Moriarty worked for Barry, but they were also best friends. & # 39; I have known him for a long time since he was in Larrimah before, & said Barry, who met Paddy years earlier in Daly Waters, another roadside community about an hour south of Larrimah.
In his late teens, Paddy emigrated from Ireland to Australia with nothing more than a little bob in his pocket, a sense of adventure and a cheeky grin. It was 1966 and he couldn't have found a place that looked less like the rolling green hills around his hometown Limerick than the remote, hot, dusty and dangerous outreach of the Northern Territory. But in this new country he could create the kind of life he wanted, far away from the crushing poverty of his youth. There was a lot of work in the Top End for someone who wasn't afraid to get their hands dirty, and Paddy became a sought-after stock worker, known as a & # 39; ringer & # 39; in the Northern Territory.
The Larrimah hotel, which has a giant Pink Panther in the front, is home to the Big Stubby and has a zoo full of rescued animals including a 3.5-meter saltwater crocodile called Sneaky Sam
Paddy Moriarty's glasses were found where he left them at home. Every morning he put his Kelpie cross Kellie on his quad and drove to the pub to clean up the toilets and do odd jobs
Paddy lived alone, but never lacked company. In the decade he spent in Larrimah, who has a population of twelve, people tended toward the cheerful Irishman. Aside from the locals, Larrimah drew a constant influx of tourists and truck drivers along the Stuart Highway, and if Paddy liked you, he was always in for a little joke and laughter.
There was a lot about life in Larrimah that suited Paddy, who was sticking to routine. Every morning he put his red kelpie cross, Kellie, on the back of his shiny red quad and drove to the pub, where he cleaned up the toilets and did odd jobs. When the clock hit the middle of the clock, he threw down tools, placed his bank card on the bar, and withdrew twenty dollars. He then used his card to buy four cans of XXXX Gold beer. As soon as he had drunk them, he used the cash he had already withdrawn to buy another four. It was a funny system, but it was Paddy & # 39; s way.
With eight beers under his belt, Paddy turned to his dog and said: & # 39; Okay, it's time to go! & # 39; Kellie would then jump on the back of Paddy & # 39; s bike and they would drive the two hundred meters home and settle in the night. He had had the one-year-old Kellie for a few months; before that, a border collie named Rover had been his faithful companion for sixteen years.
One of the strongest indicators Paddy had against cheating was a cooked Woolworths chicken in a cover dated December 16, which was found in his microwave (photo). The boy was bought by a tourist and given to Paddy the last night he was seen in the pub
One day, when Paddy didn't come to the bar, his mate Barry knew something was wrong. Paddy wasn't home either, nor was Kellie, whose head was in the house. Paddy was better than anyone that Paddy was a creature of habit and would not go anywhere without telling him, but Barry reported him missing on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm.
When his fears arose, Barry called the police twice more and asked them to send the sergeant from the nearest police station in Mataranka to investigate what they were doing. It took Sergeant Tom Chalk about an hour to drive to Larrimah, and when he arrived, the locals visited the bushland for their neighbor. A search and rescue team, tactically responding police officers and emergency service volunteers participated. The hope was that Paddy and Kellie could still be found alive. Even as the mercury rose and hope began to fade, the researchers did not stop sanding the bush on foot, on motorcycles and from the air.
A three-day search with motorcycles and a helicopter started on December 28, 2017 and covered 85 square kilometers but revealed nothing. The local tip, which was about a kilometer from Paddy & # 39; s house, was dismantled in January (pictured) and again nothing useful surfaced
Paddy Moriarty's house (photo) was not disturbed. The police found no evidence of a traffic accident, no sign that Paddy was taken by feral pigs and no sinkholes that contained a body
Local police have also contacted the Missing Persons Unit in Darwin and officials have checked life records on Paddy's bank accounts, telephone and Medicare records. They discovered that Paddy had not used any of his accounts and there was no evidence that he had traveled anywhere. His life seemed to stand still on paper. When the sun went down on Saturday, December 23, the police reluctantly called off the search. Paddy had a heart condition and was on medication at the time of his disappearance and could no longer have survived the elements. His friends were destroyed.
However, the investigation was by no means over and was promptly handed over to the Major Crime Squadron of the Northern Territory. The disappearance of Paddy Moriarty was considered suspicious.
So if Paddy made a mistake, who was responsible? And why would anyone want to harm him? It might be a surprise to hear that such a jovial, knockout character could have rubbed someone the wrong way, but sometimes he did. & # 39; He spoke his thoughts, & # 39; Matt says. & # 39; Over the years, tourists have parked and parked in front of his house, and if he didn't like where they parked, he let them know. & # 39; Paddy & # 39; s outspokenness did not end here. & # 39; If he didn't like you, he would let you know before or after a few beers. & # 39;
Among the locals that Paddy did not like, Fran Hodgetts, the septuagenaire owner of a cake and sconeshop called Fran's Homemade Devonshire Tea House (photo) was across the street from Paddy's place. Fran is well known on the tourist trail for her buffalo and camel pies
Among the locals who did not like Paddy, Fran Hodgetts, the septuagenaire owner of a cake and sconeshop, called Fran's Homemade Devonshire Tea House was across the street from Paddy's place. Fran is well known on the tourist trail for her homemade buffalo and camel pie. However, Paddy had made no secret that he did not care about Fran's cakes, and had even said so in an ABC television interview seven years prior to his disappearance. & # 39; They had a constant feud to the point where Paddy reportedly influenced Fran's affairs, & # 39; Matt says. & # 39; It wasn't that they didn't like each other; they hated each other. & # 39;
With adding fuel to the fire, Barry & # 39; s pub had started selling pies and scones. It was all fair trade according to both Barry and Paddy, but Fran did not see it that way, especially when Paddy set up a sign outside his house that the & # 39; best pies in town & # 39; promoted at the Pink Panther. But while Fran is the first to give in to the hostility between her and Paddy, she has consistently maintained that she had nothing to do with his disappearance. & # 39; I know nothing at all & # 39 ;, she says. & # 39; I don't know what happened to him. I didn't even know he missed until the 21st (of December). & # 39;
While cake shopkeeper Fran Hodgetts (photo) is the first to admit the hostility between her and Paddy Moriarty, she has consistently maintained that she had nothing to do with his disappearance. & # 39; I know nothing at all & # 39 ;, she says. & # 39; I don't know what happened to him & # 39;
Their had been a unique outback feud. & # 39; On December 12 (2016), & # 39; Fran says, & # 39; he threw a kangaroo under my bedroom window. & # 39; She says it wasn't the first time. & # 39; In 2017, he threw two dead kangaroos under my window. He didn't like me, but I didn't like him either. But I didn't do anything to him. & # 39;
Fran – who has been living in Larrimah for forty-five years – urges us not to listen to the rumors surrounding Paddy's disappearance. She has her own theories about what happened to him, but does not believe he was killed. She thinks it is more likely that Paddy has had a setback in the forest; maybe he was trying to stop his dog from chasing a kangaroo. & # 39; I think he got lost and scared and had a heart attack. I don't believe anyone did anything to him, & she says. & # 39; The pigs have it now. & # 39;
If you have information about the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty, call Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000.
Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girls by Justine Ford (Macmillan Australia) RRP $ 32.99 available in all good book stores from Tuesday 25 June 2019
Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girls by Justine Ford (Macmillan Australia) AVP $ 32.99, contains the story of Paddy Moriarty and will be available in all good book stores from Tuesday 25 June.
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