Aussie son appeals for information on missing Newport dad
THE son of a Newport man who has been missing for more than half a century has pleaded on people in the city to help find his long-lost father.
The Argus reported how John Charles Jones, who would now be 91, moved to Australia with his family in May 1962, but went missing after heading out to work one morning.
Now 51 years on, following the case being reviewed by police in Australia, the family of Mr Jones including his son Allan, 57, want to end their long wait for closure and are desperate to know what actually happened to Mr Jones.
Allan Jones, an electrician in the small town of Shepparton, in the state of Victoria, said: "I would like to ask the people of Newport to let us know if there have been any sightings, or if they have any knowledge on the whereabouts of my father. The support we have had over there so far has been great and is gratefully appreciated by us as a family.
“I’m just waiting for feedback at the minute, and hope people in Newport can help in any way.
“Until we find otherwise, we have to be optimistic [that he is still alive]. If he has passed away then at least we know where he is or was. We all want to know."
Allan's links with Newport were strengthened a few years ago when he first discovered his cousin, Debbie Sharland.
“I found my cousin in Newport on ancestry.com in 2010, and I’ve kept in touch and gone over there twice since," he added. "I’ve got eight other cousins in the UK that I didn’t know about.
“There were rumours when I went over there two years ago that he went to his mother’s funeral in August 1981, but nothing was confirmed.
“I was only seven when he left. It’s so long ago that I’ve got no anger towards him. My sister was probably the most upset, because she was 15 at the time.”
The appeal has made the news across several media outlets in Australia after police in the state of Victoria, about 110 miles north of Melbourne, started reviewing old, unsolved case files two years ago and could not close several files, including Mr Jones’.
Mr Jones had grown up in Newport having been born at the Woolaston House infirmary in June 1922. He was raised under the name Ernest Webley.
Mr Jones, his wife Janet, and their eight children settled into their new life in Shepparton in 1962.
Mrs Jones, now 84, was pregnant with the couple’s ninth child and Mr Jones had secured work as a linesman with the Post Masters General.
But one morning, dressed in his works overalls, he headed out of the family home in Newtown Road and was never seen again.
His family were so convinced that Mr Jones had returned to the UK, they didn’t report him missing for four years.
He was believed to have been struggling badly with homesickness, and his wife, who is now in a care home, believed he may have come home to Newport.
At the time of his disappearance he was described as being around five feet nine ins tall, of medium build with hazel eyes and a Welsh accent.
Police are urging anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au.
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