Tragic circumstances meant couple weren't reported missing

Married couple William Cowell and Joan Taylor went missing 30 years ago. It's believed they were going fruit picking in the Gympie or Wide Bay area.
Married couple William Cowell and Joan Taylor went missing 30 years ago. It's believed they were going fruit picking in the Gympie or Wide Bay area. Contributed

UPDATE: A detective in the case of the couple missing for 30 years says a series of tragic circumstances meant they weren't reported missing to police until 2012.

Detective Senior Constable Michael Fernald said William Cowell and Joan Taylor visited their daughter Christine in hospital in 1983 and said they were leaving to go fruit picking. 

"This was despite Christine being gravely ill," he said.

"Unfortunately, William and Joan were already missing when their son Allan drowned in 1983 and Christine died from cancer in 1984.

"The deaths of their children contributed to the delay in William and Joan being reported as missing."

Det Snr Const Fernald said William and Joan were frail and in poor health at the time of their disappearance and William stopped cashing his Department of Veterans Affairs cheques in 1983. 

"It appears they just disappeared without a trace," he said.

"There are no recorded death certificates, passports or any trace of either party since the time of their disappearance.

"There is no record of their car being found or sold or involved in a traffic crash or infringement.

"We'd like anyone who worked with them on their fruit-picking endeavours on the Sunshine Coast or Wide Bay regions to contact Crime Stoppers."

EARLIER: Police are appealing for public help relating to the disappearance of a married couple who vanished 30 years ago.

William Walter Cowell, 60, and 58-year-old Joan Iris Taylor were last seen in 1983 when they visited their daughter.

It is believed the couple was going fruit-picking in the Gympie or Wide Bay area.

The last known information regarding their whereabouts was the renting of a post office box in Gympie in 1983.

They were driving a red Ford XP Futura with a white roof.

Due to a series of circumstances, the couple was not reported missing to the Queensland Police Service until last year.

Anyone with information which could help can phone Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.



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