40 Years On, Family Of Missing Aboriginal Boy Finally Gets An Inquest


It’s been forty long years, but the family of a 12-year-old Aboriginal boy who went missing in Derby in the 70s may finally get another chance at justice.

The inquiry into the disappearance of James Patrick Taylor, or Jimmy, began this week.

According to the ABC, the last time Jimmy was seen was when he left his house on August 29, 1974 to buy a soft drink.

His body has never been found and no one has ever been charged.

The inquest has already heard that despite four sightings of the child, police did not keep witness dispositions, according to the Daily Mercury newspaper.

The family believe convicted child killer James Ryan O’Neill, who was in Derby during the time, could have something to do with the disappearance.

O’Neill is serving a life sentence in Tasmania after he was convicted of abducting and murdering two nine-year-old boys in separate incidents in 1975, the year after Jimmy went missing.

O’Neill is due to give evidence to the inquest, according to the Daily Mercury.

The Daily Mercury reported Catherine Fitzgerald, the counsel assisting the West Australian coroner said in her opening address the “prevailing view of police was that Jimmy had run away from his unhappy home environment”.

She told the inquiry there was unhappiness at home, Jimmy’s father was a heavy drinker and reportedly abusive to the child and his siblings.

The family had assumed Jimmy had visited a friend and did not report him missing until six days later, the Daily Mercury reported.

O’Neill was also charged with the abduction of a Tasmanian boy in 1975 and suspected over a number of other inductions, the Daily Mercury reported. 

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