Family left destitute
ON THE morning of October 22, a relative stopped in to visit Lance Hay at his Maryborough home.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
Afterwards, about 11am, Mr Hay sat down to use his computer for various odds and ends and remained there until noon.
He then took out his wallet and mobile phone and put them neatly on the kitchen bench.
The 56-year-old walked out the front door and has not been seen or heard from since.
His car has not been found and police have received no reports from anyone claiming to have seen him.
Mr Hay’s fiancé, Anna Van Der Sterren, has cried every day since her partner of six years vanished.
“He just disappeared,” she said through tears.
“We don’t really know what was going through his mind.
“He was a man of very few words. Nobody could tell anything was wrong, not even me.”
At these words, Ms Van Der Sterren breaks down again.
“I didn’t even realise how bad his financial situation was until we found he had nothing in his bank accounts.”
The couple had been renovating Mr Hay’s Queenslander home, which now remains unfinished.
Ms Van Der Sterren cannot afford to stay at her rented home in Hervey Bay but cannot move into the Maryborough house because there is no electricity or plumbing and the kitchen and bathrooms just “don’t exist”.
“We’re left destitute, with no help and no finances,” Ms Van Der Sterren said.
“Lance and I will lose the house because I can’t pay rent and a mortgage.
“We’ve been to all the charities and they just say they can’t help with that sort of thing.
“He was the electrician and he hasn’t finished the wiring.”
Ms Van Der Sterren and her daughter Stacie were helping Mr Hay with the painting, plastering and woodwork.
“We didn’t need any tradies,” she said.
But everything has changed now the house is in pieces.
Adding to their dilemma is the financial mess he has left behind.
“We’ve got all the creditors down our throats,” Ms Van Der Sterren said.
“I try to tell them he’s a missing person but then they call back the next day.
“There’s just no compassion anymore.”
But, despite all the hardship coupled with the anguish of not knowing what has happened to Mr Hay, Ms Van Der Sterren refuses to give up hope that he will come home.
“What else can you think?” she said.
“We just have to keep praying that he’s out there lost somewhere.
“He loved the bush ... but from what I can see none of his camping stuff is missing.
“People should know that if he’s been lost or disorientated somewhere he might be looking thinner in the face and he’d have a full beard by now.”
Anyone who may have seen Mr Hay or his burgundy Jeep Cherokee is asked to call Maryborough police on 4123 8111 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.