Skeleton ID: missing Iluka man

By TOBY WALKER

YOU could set your watch to Iluka retiree Oswald William Langby's daily walks, and plenty of his neighbours did.

But the morning of June 7, 1995, was the last time any of them had the chance.

Like any other morning, the 69-year-old had headed out along the dunes and onto Iluka's Main Beach, but this time he would not return.

Almost 10 years on, his wife Joyce and the residents of Iluka had been left to wonder whether the mystery surrounding his disappearance would ever be solved.

And yesterday afternoon it was, with police confirming the skeletal remains found last Thursday by a council worker near the dunes on Main Beach were Mr Langby's.

Dental records were the key to identifying the remains and police are continuing investigations to determine the cause of death.

At the time of his disappearance Mr Langby was known to have suffered from Alzheimer's Disease and many in Iluka suspected the bones to be his.

Yesterday Mr Langby's widow, Joyce, was staying with family in Gosford and declined an offer to speak with The Daily Examiner.

Sandra Ible has lived next door to the Langby's for more than 30 years.

She said the positive identification would provide closure for Joyce and her extended family.

"He was a lovely man, a gentleman's gentleman," she said.

"I've just got home from a luncheon where everyone was talking about it because they all knew the Langbys.

"We were just saying what a marvellous relief it was for the family because we've always wondered what happened to him ... he sort of just went for a walk and never came back. We can't believe he was missed because the search ... they just went through everything and it's just amazing he was missed."

The news might be good for the Langby family but somewhere a family will be wondering whether another set of human remains found at Iluka in August 2003 belong to their missing son.

Police have been trying to establish a reliable DNA sample from bones found near the Long Street entrance to Iluka's Main Beach, about 2km from the site where Mr Langby's remains were found. Yesterday police said there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding the man's death and estimate his age to be between 16 and 30. They said a distinctive Ecko Un Ltd branded shirt, a pair of denim jeans and a pair of board shorts had been found at the time, and believed the bones could have sat there for anywhere between six months and two years.



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