Mick Peet at his daughter Lateesha's resting place at Dubbo cemetery.
Mick Peet at his daughter Lateesha's resting place at Dubbo cemetery.

'Why am I burying her and she's not burying me?'

AFTER years of heartbreak, a Bundaberg father has finally laid his treasured daughter to rest - a few days before what would have been her 37th birthday.

Mick Peet's daughter Lateesha Nolan went missing in 2005 and in 2012 former fugitive Malcolm Naden was charged with her Dubbo murder.

The break-through that would lead to the 24-year-old mum's burial came in December last year when campers found a bone at Butlers Falls in New South Wales.

 

Mick Peet with Lateesha Nolan's brother, Chris.
Mick Peet with Lateesha Nolan's brother, Chris.

After a search by Mr Peet, police and the community, more bones were found and tests confirmed they belonged to Lateesha.

On Friday, at Lateesha's funeral service, Mr Peet had just one question.

"Why am I burying her and she's not burying me?," he said.

 

Mick Peet camped at the Butler's Falls area where some of Lateesha Nolan's remains were found.
Mick Peet camped at the Butler's Falls area where some of Lateesha Nolan's remains were found.

"I was trying to think of all the good times, and then I thought of what happened.

"You just think of everything in that 13 years rattling through your mind 100 miles an hour."

Mr Peet and his son, Lateesha's brother Chris, were at the front of the coffin.

"It was hard when they had the coffin right in front of us... the looks on the grandkids' faces.

 

Mick Peet said when he visited the place where Lateesha's remains were found, two black swans flew down.
Mick Peet said when he visited the place where Lateesha's remains were found, two black swans flew down.

"I had a poem there and I actually got the lady to read it, the minister. I just wanted her to read it, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to do it myself.

"They had the traditional Aboriginal service there with the blessing of the coffin.

"Now Lateesha lays next to her nan and pop and (her mother) Joan's brother."

 

Lateesha Nolan.
Lateesha Nolan. Crystal Jones

The funeral was a bitter-sweet occasion for Mr Peet, who said the warmth of the community helped to shine some light on his broken heart.

Many people turned up at the funeral and in the streets and pub, Dubbo locals showered Mr Peet with hugs and encouragement.

"I was never going to give up, one lady said I was the strongest man she'd ever met," Mr Peet said.

 

Mick Peet with Lateesha Nolan's brother Chris and his partner and family.
Mick Peet with Lateesha Nolan's brother Chris and his partner and family.

"When I saw a place there where she could rest I thought 'it's worth it'.

"I went out to the cemetery and put some flowers down for Lateesha's birthday which was (Tuesday)."

"It was an emotional trip all the way down there. I don't think I've had that many tears on a 12-hour trip like that before."

 

Mick Peet leaves  heartfelt words at his daughter's resting place.
Mick Peet leaves heartfelt words at his daughter's resting place.

Mr Peet camped out at Butlers Falls during his trip, in the hope he could find more of his daughter's remains.

The urge to search, he said, would always stay.

"When I was out the river there I walked up and down that river and I just wouldn't stop looking," he said.

 

Lateesha Nolan at a car show with her brother Chris and mum Joan.
Lateesha Nolan at a car show with her brother Chris and mum Joan.

While Mr Peet said he was glad there was finally somewhere for Latessha's children to go and remember her, coming home, and leaving Lateesha's resting place, wasn't easy.

"The further I was driving away the sadder I was feeling," he said.

"When I got home I just couldn't sleep. It's just a long trip and all the songs I've got on the six-stacker in my car was just memories of Lateesha - every song just reminded me of her."

 

Mr Peet persevered in the search for Malcolm Naden and the belief that someday he would find his daughter and give her a burial.

"I'm just glad it got this far. I promised myself I would never give up."


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