It sounds like the remains of missing Myrtleford toddler Daniel Thomas may have been found today after human bones were discovered under a house in the North East Victorian town.
Daniel went missing in October 2003.
The house is the one Daniel’s mother Donna Thomas and babysitter Mandy Martin rented together when Daniel was reported missing. Ms Martin has been a police suspect.
I was living in Porepunkah, 25km from Myrtleford, when Daniel went missing. I was editor of the Myrtleford Times from 1996-99.
The saga had a negative impact on the town and district. It brought to the surface a lot of negative stereotypes, or raised awareness about social issues in the town if you want a positive spin.
It was very reminiscent of the Jaidyn Leskie case at Moe. He was another toddler who disappeared in June 1997 and was later found dead at Blue Rock Dam.
Both cases involved people from the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum. Their coarseness, for want of a better word, highlighted the negative stereotypes associated with those towns to national and world media.
That’s unfortunate and not entirely accurate.
My parents currently live at Moe, so I’m familiar with that community as well. Neither Myrtleford nor Moe is paradise, but both towns have more positives than negatives.
I was happy to be involved with community organisations at Myrtleford and met some wonderful people. I always considered it more welcoming and inclusive than its brash neighbor Bright, further up the Ovens Valley.
Having grown up in Traralgon I can’t say too much that’s nice about rival Moe, except when I visit there now it seems like any other working class country town. It certainly isn’t a lawless welfare-dependent ghetto as some have portrayed it.