STILL SEARCHING: Police hope that Missing Persons Week has provided leads that will help them find people’s loveds one who have vanished.
STILL SEARCHING: Police hope that Missing Persons Week has provided leads that will help them find people’s loveds one who have vanished. Nathan Woulfe

Tortured families craving answers

HOW does a car vanish without a trace?

That is the question baffling Sunshine Coast detectives who have been searching for a decade for a man who hopped in his car, drove away from his Kenilworth property and was never seen again.

Stuart Gatehouse was a 45-year-old Tasmanian man living on the Sunshine Coast when he and his red Holden VL Commodore went missing on the way to Gympie in April 2004.

The case has detectives stumped, but they are still working to find answers.

"It is strange that he and a vehicle can just disappear," Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards said.

"His disappearance is considered suspicious.

"It is known that a toolbox full of tools was found at Kenilworth, and as Gatehouse was a mechanic and supposedly heading toward Mackay, it would be strange that he would not take these with him."

Mr Gatehouse was reported missing to Tasmanian Police by his father Kevin Gatehouse.

He knew Stuart was living at a property at Kenilworth and was planning to drive to Gympie and further on to Maryborough to visit his brother, but never arrived.

Police don't believe Mr Gatehouse left the state and his bank account and phone have not been touched since 2004.

Mr Gatehouse is one of many faces on the Queensland Missing Persons registry.

The missing men, women, mums, dads, brothers and sisters, have left behind dozens of families desperate for answers.

The heartbroken families and police hope some leads have come to light this week during National Missing Persons Week.

This year the focus of the week is on older people living with dementia or memory loss and the increased risk they have of becoming a missing person.

In Queensland, 6500 people are reported missing each year with the police recovery rate for 2013 being 99.7%.

About 5% of missing persons are 60 years or older.

That equates to 300 missing persons each year. Some of those elderly people were living with dementia.

Detective Senior Sergeant Damien Powell of the Missing Persons Unit said these people were a high risk of wandering and becoming disorientated and at risk.

"This is certainly concerning for us, but is something that can be prevented," he said.

"The large majority of people reported missing are located quickly, however, some cases end tragically."

Anyone with information on missing persons should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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