A HEARTBREAKING story of a mother living at Cabarita and in search of her missing son, has served as a reminder to stay connected with loved ones as part of Missing Persons Week.
Mother of three from Maroubra Beach, Vanessa Richards visited The Weekly on Tuesday, August 1, to make a desperate plea to help track down her 26-year-old son Karl Melo Richards.
Mrs Richards said the family had spent a lot of time together on the Southern Gold Coast and Tweed Shire and had heard reports her son could be on the coast.
“We had some reports that he was seen around Burleigh but could also be down this way,” she said.
Mrs Richards wanted to stress that her son did not use any drugs or drink alcohol, but he suffered from intense bouts of depression.
“He left everything behind, his wallet, keys for his car, everything,” she said.
She said the family had been to the police who were assisting to find Karl, but he had not accessed his bank account or made any contact.
A keen surfer, Mrs Richards said her son spent his childhood travelling up and down the coast pursuing the grommet surfing competition circuit.
“He made many friends and has strong ties to Northern NSW and the Gold Coast,” she said.
“Unfortunately, he has suffered bouts of depression over the last ten years and last year, during a particularly prolonged and severe one, he left our home on September 2, 2016, taking no money or personal possessions with him.
“We have not seen nor heard from him since.
“Please search Karl Melo Richards on Facebook (pictured right), look carefully at his photos and keep an eye out for him in your local area. If you see him, please contact Palm Beach Police on (07) 5534 0222.”
“Karl if you see this, please contact us and let us know if you are ok.”
National Missing Persons Week 2017 runs until Saturday, August 5, and aims to raise awareness of the issues and impacts surrounding missing persons in Australia.
This year’s theme is: “Still Waiting For You To Come Home”.
Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said nearly half of the persons reported missing in NSW last year are under 18.
“There were more than 5,000 reports about missing children in 2016 alone,” Mr Provest said.
“The stress of a missing loved one and living with the unknown has a huge impact on friends and family members. It can affect everything from their health and wellbeing, to work responsibilities, and of course is very emotionally tiring.
“Anyone who is struggling in any way because someone in their life is missing should not hesitate to reach out for support.
“If you have concerns or information about a missing person I urge you to follow your instincts and contact the police.”
For more information on National Missing Persons Week go to: www.missingpersons.gov.au
To find out more about the Families and Friends of Missing Persons Unit go to www.missingpersons.justice.nsw.gov.au