National Missing Persons Week: Family of Rigby Fielding still looking for answers

Missing man Rigby Fielding with his sister Stephenie.
Missing man Rigby Fielding with his sister Stephenie.

IT has been two years almost to the day since Stephenie Fielding last saw her brother Rigby, but she is no closer to having any closure.

The 53-year-old retired chef was last seen on August 15, 2015 after visiting friends in North Perth.

Ms Fielding said Rigby had called their mother, who he was living with in Rockingham, to say he was catching the train home and would see her soon.

He never made it.

“I think about that day a lot and about all the things I would have told him if I had known it was going to be the last time I’d ever see him,” she said.

“I knew straight away that something was wrong, I remember telling mum that he would be fine and was probably out with friends as I didn’t want to worry her.

“It wasn’t like him to not come home or have his phone off.”

The next days and weeks were hell for the Fielding family, with sleepless nights trying to find Rigby.

Rigby Fielding with his niece Gemma.

“For days I called hospitals and friends searching for Rigby or any news, but no one had heard from him and I knew something terrible must have happened to him,” she said.

After no contact or information on Rigby, he was registered as a missing person.

“Rigby was the second oldest out of eight children and all of us kids are extremely close,” she said.

“As my older brother, I adored him – we all did.

“He was generous to a fault and lived life to the fullest – he was outrageously unique and you couldn’t help but love him.”

Rigby’s disappearance has been treated as a suspected homicide by police, with some of his belongings found in bushland near Wellard.

There have been no sightings of Rigby and his bank account has not been accessed since the day he went missing.

This week is National Missing Person’s Week, a week that hopes to raise awareness for the 1600 long-term missing people across Australia.

Ms Fielding hopes this week would prompt someone to remember Rigby or come forward with new information.

She said it was horrible to have a loved one die, but to have one go missing and never know what happened was devastating.

“Losing our brother is hard enough, but not knowing what happened to him is extremely distressing. One of the hardest things is the thought that we may never get to say goodbye to him properly and lay him to rest,” she said.

“Even the smallest amount of information would help us.”

Ms Fielding said Rigby would not have left his family by choice and had no doubt he fell victim to foul play.

“I really hope that we will find him and the answers to what happened to him,” she said.

“As a family, we are realistic that we won’t see Rig alive again, if he was alive he would not have left us.

“The positive outcome for us will be that he is found and we can lay him to rest. If someone knows what happened to Rigby, whomever it is please make contact. Please help us find him and let us say goodbye to him.”

Detective Sergeant Stephen Perejmibida from the WA Police Missing Person Unit said on average 30 missing persons cases were reported each week across the State.

“The overwhelming majority of people missing in WA are located, however an average of six people per year remain missing,” he said.

“National Missing Persons Week is an opportunity for police to raise the public awareness about these difficult cases. Members of the public may have the information that can help us resolve these matters and find answers for those who continue to suffer in silence, with the trauma of not knowing what happened to their loved one.”

Nick Zdunic knows the trauma of a missing family member after his 78-year-old father Juraj went missing in December last year in bushland near Muchea when his car got bogged.

Despite extensive searches of the area, his father has still not been found.

Mr Zdunic said he could not fully describe the pain of having a family member go missing.

“It’s a feeling of emptiness. There is no closure and you can’t grieve – you can’t move on, because you don’t have answers or the chance to say goodbye,” he said.

Mr Zdunic said the hardest thing was thinking how his father would have been alone when he died.

He said his family would continue to search for their father until they had some closure.

“He deserves the respect and dignity of a funeral and we deserve the chance to say goodbye and have closure,” he said.

Facebook pages have been set up for both Rigby and Juraj.

If you have any information on what happened to Rigby or Juraj, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.