Search for father renewed by phone call

SANDRA Veryard never knew her father, Stanley Lionel Cooper, but she thinks about him every day.

For the last 49 years he has been listed as a missing person - ever since he headed into Bellingen one day in September 1959 and never returned.

Her mother Shirley was left to cope with three small children and one on the way.

Sandra was nine months old at the time.

“I feel like I've been looking for Dad forever,” Sandra said.

“I was able to trace him up until 1962 using the Salvation Army and later a private detective. He was working as a log cutter on Fraser Island. Some people from Thora saw him and arranged to meet him the next day but he never turned up.

“The number plates on his truck were eventually handed in at Cooktown - in those days that was a long way to go.”

Sandra, who now lives in Valla, said she continued to look for her father because she “needed answers”.

“People say you don't miss what you never had, but you's the not knowing.”

Hope had virtually faded until a call six weeks ago rekindled a flicker.

“The police rang to say they were reviewing cold cases of missing persons and asked us to come into Coffs Harbour for an interview.

“They wanted some DNA from my uncle to test against remains in Sydney and also photos of siblings so they could age him and re-issue his photo.

“I'm hopeful we might finally find something out this time.”

She says while she is mindful of how it might be for her father if his old family suddenly re-entered his life (there are now 13 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren), she also believes people who disappear often don't realise the impacts of their disappearance.

“We'd all just like some answers.”

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