Paddy Moriarty’s Larrimah house contained a series of clues which led police to suspect homicide
Today, one year ago, is the last time there was evidence that Paddy Moriarty was inside his outback home, on the fringe of the Stuart Highway, in the remote Northern Territory.
He and his trusty kelpie Kellie have vanished.
Police are treating it as an unsolved homicide.
Now, for the first time, images taken by Northern Territory police inside his deserted home have been released to the ABC.
They show the physical evidence that helped stoke fear within the police force, and among other residents in the tiny town of Larrimah, that he is dead and may be the victim of a homicide.
The barbecue chicken
Leftovers of a barbecue chicken were in a microwave in Paddy Moriarty’s Larrimah house. (Supplied: NT Police)
A passing tourist gave Mr Moriarty the remnants of a barbecued chicken they had purchased earlier that day.
They told police the leftovers were a gift, and were handed to him as he and his dog Kellie were leaving the Pink Panther hotel at sunset on December 16 — the last day he was seen.
The chicken wrapper, date stamped the same day, was found inside his microwave.
His house is a few hundred metres from the pub, across the Stuart Highway.
Mr Moriarty was quite bald on top.
His friends say he was almost never seen bare-headed.
Yet his well-worn cowboy hat and an array of caps were left behind, his favourite sun protector placed neatly on an esky inside his house.
The dim sims
This was a detail mentioned at the coronial inquest in June.
A plastic container with dim sims reheated inside was left half-eaten on the table.
The inquest called almost all the residents of Larrimah, and all have denied having anything to do with the disappearance.
The inquest is part-heard, and no finding has been provided so far.
There is still a possibility witnesses could be recalled, or new evidence could be taken.
Mr Moriarty had a calendar repurposed from the previous year with the new dates written in.
The last date crossed off was December 16, 2017 — the last day he was seen.
While residents came looking for him in the days after he vanished, and searched around the remote town, police say the alarm was not raised with them for 72 hours.
But this calendar, meticulously marked off in the past, suggests Mr Moriarty was not inside his home after December 16.
Mr Moriarty was described as being in good health for his age but he did carry glasses with him. (Supplied: NT Police)
Mr Moriarty was 70, and it was very strange to his friends in Larrimah that he would have left his reading glasses behind if he was going somewhere.
While he was described at the inquest as being in good health for his age, he did carry his glasses with him.
But they were inside his house, placed on a newspaper.
Also left behind were his keycard and his wallet, containing $225.
No sign of a struggle
The house was neat and tidy and it appeared there had been no sign of a fight or forced entry.
During the inquest, local residents Mark and Karen Rayner told the court they had gone to Mr Moriarty’s house because they were worried about him.
They could see the home was largely undisturbed.
They felt something was wrong and began looking for him in the scrub around the town.
After residents conducted their own searches and found no sign of Mr Moriarty or an explanation for his disappearance, they contacted police on December 19, at 4pm.
Police arrived in Larrimah the following day and began a substantial land and air search.
The lead investigator, Detective Sergeant Matt Allen, said he had excellent visibility from the helicopter and believed Mr Moriarty would have been spotted by him, or his officers, if he had met misadventure in the bush.
As Christmas approached, on December 23, a medical expert advised police that there was no real likelihood Mr Moriarty would still be alive if he had simply wandered off or become lost.
Since then police say the Irish-born local has not contacted friends or accessed any bank accounts or social services under his name, nor have any reports of sightings been confirmed.
This case is the subject of an ABC investigation A Dog Act: Homicide on the Highway.
The iview and YouTube series delving inside this outback missing persons file explores the petty disagreements and feuds in Larrimah that police have investigated as part of the process of establishing how and why Mr Moriarty vanished.
Larrimah only has about 10 permanent residents.
They remain on edge.
No arrests have been made.
Police have confirmed there are persons of interest in Larrimah and outside of the outpost.
The police investigation is continuing.
A feature length version of this series will air on ABC News Channel tonight at 9:05pm.