Robert Grayson (right, 26 at the time) was reported missing on August 8, 1994. On September 2 1994, Derek Van Der Poel (left, 23 at the time) was reported missing to Calliope Police.
Robert Grayson (right, 26 at the time) was reported missing on August 8, 1994. On September 2 1994, Derek Van Der Poel (left, 23 at the time) was reported missing to Calliope Police. Queensland Police Service

COLD CASE: Kroombit Tops deaths referred to Coroner

THE DEATHS of Derek Van Der Poel and Robert Grayson will be referred to the Coroner after the man awaiting trial for their murder was himself found dead at a Rockhampton prison on Tuesday morning.

Rosedale man Russell Williams, 51, was charged with two counts of murder after a breakthrough in the cold case was made in January.

His body was found at Capricornia Correctional Centre on Tuesday at 5am. The death is not believed to have been suspicious.

Mr Van Der Poel and Mr Grayson were last seen alive in Gladstone in May 1993.

Police conducted several searches of Kroombit Tops National Park this year in relation to the deaths, but did not turn up any new evidence.

Detective Inspector for the Capricornia District Darrin Shadlow yesterday confirmed the matters would now be withdrawn from court and the deaths of Mr Van Der Poel and Mr Grayson would be referred to the Coroner.

Williams' death would also be referred to the Coroner.

But Det-Insp Shadlow said police were still open to receiving information about the case from the public and had not ruled out the involvement of other people in the deaths.

 

Detective Inspector Darrin Shadlow.
Detective Inspector Darrin Shadlow. Andrew Thorpe

"We're still open to receiving information in relation to any of that," he said.

"A $250,000 reward is still valid for any member of the public who comes forward with information leading to a conviction in the case.

"That reward applies to anyone who was not directly involved in the offence."

A relative of Mr Grayson on Wednesday told The Observer the family was relieved they would not have to go through more trial dates.

"We're relieved that we don't have this hanging over our heads... but now we're never going to find them to lay them to rest," she said.

  • If you have information that may assist police, call Policelink on 131 444, Gladstone Police Station on 4971 3222 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.

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