Cold case closed, but no closure for mum
The file on missing Hamilton man Graeme Timlin who went missing in 1965 has now been officially closed, though police say that if new information comes to light they will reopen the case.
Coroner Gordon Matenga, who presided over the inquest, said a sighting of Timlin's body by a fisherman on Kawau Island in the Hauraki Gulf more than three weeks after he went missing was correct, although his body was never recovered.
"How he got there is not known," he said.
Timlin's mother Ursula Purchase also spoke at the inquest.
The 88-year-old tearfully told the court she expected her son to walk through the court doors.
"Every time [I] think of him, I think where are you?"
Timlin was 19 when he disappeared from the bakery he owned on Bader St on May 15, 1965.
The eldest of three boys to Purchase, he was described as a "hard worker" who did baking because the family could not afford to send him to veterinary school.
His van was found days later in Mt Maunganui, but Timlin was gone and his whereabouts have been a mystery since.
Timlin went into his bakery to do some work. He had rung his employee to come in and give him a hand, which she would do later that afternoon.
When she arrived, she found the ovens on and the dough for buns and mixes for meringues on the bench ready to go in the oven, but no sign of Timlin or his van.
Coroner Matenga said from the evidence gathered at the time of his disappearance, it appeared Timlin was a "good baker" but a "lousy" businessman, no skills in bookkeeping and terrible at clearing his debts.
The coroner said there was no suggestion of foul play.
Coroner Matenga found that Timlin had died "on or about" May 15, 2014 "in circumstances which are unknown".
Outside the courtroom, Purchase said that although the paperwork regarding her son's disappearance had been closed, for her closure would not come until she found him.
"There will never be closure for me, but I still hold out hope that he will be found."
Purchase found out her son had disappeared over the radio while having lunch at her Otorohanga home.
She also found out about the sighting of a body on Kawau Island through a story in an Auckland newspaper.
Author of Still Missing, Scott Bainbridge welcomed the coroner's findings.
"It has in some sense given some closure to this case. For Ursula, she still holds out hope that someone may come forward with information."
Bainbridge would not rule out another investigation into Timlin's disappearance but said new information should be taken to police.
If Timlin was alive today he would be 68.