Tragic riddle of car in river

A SEVEN year mystery about what happened to New Norfolk man Dale Waverley Nicholson has almost certainly been solved. On Sunday afternoon about 4 pm a body was discovered and later recovered from the River Derwent at New Norfolk, just metres from Mr Nicholson’s home. The breakthrough finding was due to the hard work of a YouTube channel called “Downunder Dan Diving’’

The man behind the discovery is part of an organisation called Adventures with Purpose, a worldwide movement which searches for missing persons by using sonar technology to look for sunken vehicles lost by water and time. The body was found in a car on the northern side of the Blair Street Bridge. Police were notified and the body and car were removed from the water. Mystery still surrounds how the car came to be in the river.

Tasmania Police confirmed human remains were found in the vehicle registered to Mr Nicholson, who was reported missing in 2016. Formal identification is yet to occur and a report will be prepared for the Coroner.

After his disappearance, Tasmania Police conducted searches including in the lake areas of the Central Highlands. Mr Nicholson was a keen fisherman. In late 2021, Coroner Simon Cooper declared Mr Nicholson was dead. Sixty-one year old Mr Nicholson was last seen on December 10, 2016.

Unmarried, Mr Nicholson lived alone in Cox Avenue New Norfolk. Mr Cooper said Mr Nicholson was last seen alive by a neighbour at his home at about 11 am on 10 December 2016. He also spoke by telephone to a friend during the afternoon of the same day. His family reported him missing to police the following day.

“Thereafter, an extensive search for Mr Nicholson was carried out in the Derwent Valley, and further afield, focusing on areas known to be frequented by Mr Nicholson,’’ Mr Cooper said. “I am satisfied that the search for Mr Nicholson was thorough and comprehensive. “Unfortunately, no trace of Mr Nicholson was found.

“Although Mr Nicholson’s body has not been found, there is ample evidence to conclude he is dead. “First is the fact that, following his disappearance on 11 December 2016 no one has seen or heard of him again. “There is no evidence he ever married nor had any children. He was close to his mother who lived nearby (but has subsequently passed away) and his three sisters, who all lived locally in New Norfolk.’’

DNA samples were provided by Mr Nicholson’s family for future comparison in the event any remains were located in the future which might belong to Mr Nicholson.