Police scale back search

Constable Sean Basile at Butlers Falls where access has been blocked to the public and media
Constable Sean Basile at Butlers Falls where access has been blocked to the public and media

By yesterday the search for Lateesha Nolan’s body had been scaled back after accused killer Malcolm Naden was taken, handcuffed, to the banks of the Macquarie River at Butlers Falls on Saturday.

No longer Australia’s most wanted man, Naden was compliant in leading police to the alleged burial site of his cousin, before being driven back to Goulburn Supermax, yesterday morning.

The 38-year-old was transported to his hometown of Dubbo to assist police in pinpointing their excavations, which began last Wednesday.

Naden was taken to the reserve under tight security and was easily identifiable in orange overalls as he was walked to the location.

He is said to have spent an hour co-operating with police and detectives but, at the time of print, no remains had been discovered.

After the prisoner’s visit on Saturday, Butlers Falls was still cordoned off from the public with a strong police presence blocking access to curious onlookers.

By yesterday morning the exclusion area had been further extended with police tape and manned cars at the entrance of the reserve via old Dubbo Road.

The Daily Liberal understands a scaled down search was still taking place yesterday.

News Limited reported yesterday Naden had spent Saturday night in Wellington Correctional Centre.

He is said to have been returned to Goulburn Supermax Sunday, having left Wellington early that morning.

A Correctional Services spokesperson could neither confirm nor deny this.

National media were active in gaining footage of the site over the weekend with a noticeable presence of small aircraft over the city.

As recently as Sunday morning a Channel Nine helicopter could be seen over the river.

Media were given no further information and were also excluded from the location.

Just up the road from the reserve, the mood was far less sombre. Two large white marquees lined the riverbank and guests poured in to celebrate a wedding.

Backing onto the Macquarie River and a few hundred metres from Butlers Fall, property owner Danielle Yeo said the family had no idea what was happening Saturday until helicopters started bombarding the area.

“We didn’t realise until the news that night what was happening and we were a little shocked,” she said.

“We were thinking about when the murder happened and how we would have been sleeping close by that night.

“It’s not one of those places you’d ever dream of that happening, definitely not.”

Mrs Yeo said they tried to lighten up the wedding ceremony by joking that the helicopters were “paparazzi for their celebrity wedding”.

“During the ceremony the helicopters came over the top of us and the celebrant actually had to stop a couple of times during the vows because they were so loud,” she said.