Michael Devitt's brother: We just want the family to have closure

Did a kind-hearted truckie die for his ideals?

HE was a kind-hearted truck driver with a soft spot for the disfranchised.

Airlie Beach father of three Michael Leslie Devitt's ideals probably put him in an early grave more than five years ago.

The missing man's family is desperate to lay his body to rest and the Queensland Homicide Squad is determined to bring his killer to justice.

While the facts are simple, the details are vague.

In January 2010, Michael Devitt left his family and friends in Brisbane to give a trucking mate a hand with his business up north.

On Australia Day, he booked a room at Proserpine's Grand Central Hotel.

That evening the soon to be grandfather exchanged heated words with someone at the popular watering hole.

The fight did not get physical but other hotel guests and pub management were involved.

He arrived at work the next day - January 27 - as expected.

Hours later the 48-year-old and his belongings disappeared.

His bank accounts have not been touched since and his mobile phone remains unused.

Holding back tears, Garry Devitt  said sticking up for others could have cost his brother his life.

"He was one of those larger than life characters ... (he was) happy go lucky," Garry told journalists at Queensland Police headquarters in Brisbane on Monday.

Missing man Michael Devitt
Missing man Michael Devitt Contributed

"He sometimes stuck up for people in the wrong places and he tried to make everything just - this might have been his undoing this time.

"He's one of those characters who take offence - especially on Australia Day.

"Somebody might have said the wrong thing ... if somebody made an unjust comment about Aboriginals or women he would have been verbal."

While Michael believed in standing up for those who needed it most, Garry said his brother was not violent.

"He never had the body to back it (his comments) up," the softly-spoken man said.

"But he was a good runner."

Pleading for witnesses to come forward, Garry said his family was desperate for closure.

"It's just a bit too early in life to meet a sudden end like this," he said of his brother's murder.

"We're just pleading with anybody to come forward to give information or just renew the information they've given before to help the homicide squad.

"We'd just like to ... bring him home."

Mr Devitt said his brother never met the granddaughter his daughter was carrying at the time he vanished.

Detective Inspector Damian Hansen would not reveal specific details of the case.

"The significant event for us was on the evening of January 26, 2010, when Mr Devitt was booked in the Grand Central Hotel and an incident occurred at the hotel," the State Homicide Investigation Unit officer said.

"Michael's movements or evidence of life has ceased on the afternoon of January 27.

"He has had no contact with family or friends from that date."

Det Insp Hansen said a Crime Stoppers informant could hold a vital clue about Michael's killer.

"I'd ask these informants to again make contact with investigators through Crime Stoppers," he said.

"The best advice is to come forward, give us the information and let us deal with it."

The homicide unit is working with the Whitsunday CIB to investigate the murder. 

TIMELINE

JAN 26, 2010: Michael Leslie Devitt books a room at Proserpine's Grand Central Hotel. That evening he has an argument with an unknown person.

JAN 27, 2010: Michael Devitt leaves work and is never seen again.

AUGUST 2011: A number of people contact Crime Stoppers and the National Missing Persons Unit providing information about the disappearance.

JULY 13, 2015: Homicide squad and family plead for witnesses to come forward.

EARLIER: Police urge caller to come forward after suspected murder

THE Homicide Investigation Unit has engaged with the Whitsunday CIB to investigate the disappearance and suspected murder of Michael Leslie Devitt, reported missing by his family on August 26, 2010.

The investigation has identified Mr Devitt was last confirmed to be living in Cannonvale (near Airlie Beach in Central Queensland) in January 2010.

The last known sighting of Michael Devitt was in Proserpine on or around January 27, 2010.

"Our investigations have led us to confirm that Mr Devitt was involved in an incident at a hotel in Proserpine on or about January 27," Detective Inspector Damien Hansen of the Homicide Investigation Unit said.

"The exact nature of this incident is an integral part of our enquiries.

RELATED: Whitsunday police review missing persons case

"We are appealing to the public for anyone with any knowledge of Michael Devitt's involvement in an incident in the vicinity of the Grand Central Hotel in Main Street, Proserpine or regarding his disappearance to please contact police or Crime Stoppers.

"We also know a person contacted Crime Stoppers and the National Missing Persons Unit in August 2011 and we would be very keen to speak again with that person as their information would be very helpful to our investigation."

Michael Leslie Devitt is described as being approximately 175cm tall, proportionate build with brown hair and blue eyes.

His disappearance is considered out of character.

If you can help phone Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000.


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