POLICE investigations into the disappearance and murder of Indian national Pardeep Kumar in September 2009 started behind the eight-ball and went from bad to worse.
Just when police believed they were gaining momentum in establishing a motive for his horrific death, another possibility would emerge, as would potential suspects.
While the inquest into his death was this week told that Mr Kumar wasn’t well known in the region, having arrived in Australia in only December 2008, he was known to many people including fellow workers, his own group of workers, other fruit picking contractors and farmers.
He left his parents and brother and sister back in India and who, while proud of his achievements Down Under, were keen for him to return home.
As the net on his killer or, more likely, killers gradually widened as the investigation continued, police would interview more than 60 witnesses and a number of those would provide multiple statements to police.
Despite many of those statements being taken in the days after Mr Kumar’s disappearance, or after his body was found with his throat cut on October 6, the details often conflicted but police were hamstrung and needed to follow every sniff of what might turn out to be a breakthrough lead.
In hindsight, none did, but police held out hope, and still do, that someone, somewhere will talk.
It is likely that at least four people were either with, or travelling behind, Mr Kumar as his car was driven away from the Mildura Library late in the afternoon of September 22, 2009.
He had attended the library for what investigators believe was a duped work meeting, fabricated to lure him, eventually, to his death.
A witness described him being forced into a car other than his own and driven off to his brutal, violent end.
The trek to the Old Euston Road where his body was found and return to Mildura takes about an hour which matches up with his last known movements in the city until CCTV footage shows his car being dumped at the Mildura V/Line Station about 6.30pm that day.
The last positive identification of Mr Kumar speaking with anyone on his mobile phone was at 5.06pm, the same time that the deceased man logged off the Mildura Library internet.
A man looking for work telephoned Mr Kumar’s number at 5.32pm and spoke to a male who said he was too busy to talk. Because the caller did not know Mr Kumar he was unable to identify the voice.
If it was Mr Kumar who answered the call, there was no evidence that led to determine if he was still at the library.
If he had been forced into a car and held against his will, it would be highly unlikely that his killers would allow him the opportunity of speaking on his phone.
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Saturday's Sunraysia Daily 22/09/2012.