Man's body found in Far North Queensland after days of searching
THE search for a man missing since Friday and involving police and 20 State Emergency Service volunteers ended in tragedy late yesterday when his body was found in a creek bed.
Rodderick Lewis was last seen leaving the Silkwood Hotel about 11.30pm on Friday, planning to walk the 7km to his home at El Arish, south of Cairns.
He never returned home and his family and police held serious concerns over his whereabouts until searchers made the discovery of Mr Lewis' body about 3pm yesterday in North Maria Creek under a bridge that spans the Bruce Highway, about 1km south of Silkwood.
Innisfail police Inspector Brian Cannon said police would now await autopsy results to find out how the man died.
A crime scene has been set up at the location and a detective and police officer were last night guarding it ahead of further investigations.
The search had originally been narrowed down to cane fields north of the town where a signal from Mr Lewis' mobile phone was last picked up.
The Emergency Management Queensland helicopter joined the search yesterday morning, scouring cane fields and crocodile- inhabited creeks near where Mr Lewis was last seen.
Silkwood Hotel owner Kerry Fry, who took over the hotel last week, said Mr Lewis had been attending a farewell party for the outgoing publican on Friday night.
"I was introduced to him for the first time and I was just introduced to him as 'Blue'," she said.
"He seemed very happy all night and was very chatty."
Speaking before the discovery, Mr Lewis' next-door neighbour in El Arish, Kerrie Lewis, no relation, said the community had been worried for his safety.
"This is very out of character for him, he doesn't wander off," she said.
"He doesn't even go to the pub very much, he'd go once a fortnight."
She said Mr Lewis had been attending the celebration with his sister who lived in Silkwood.
"He's a very cruisy guy, very friendly and he just does his own thing," she said.
Share this article
Search: SES volunteers search around Silkwood. Picture: JOHN FLYNN.
Body found: Rodderick Lewis.