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StarBulletin.com

Missing hiker's family returns after a year


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POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The family of a missing Australian hiker returned to Oahu on the anniversary of his disappearance in the hope of discovering his whereabouts.

John Parsons, 77, was reported missing Sept. 4, 2008, after he went for a hike on Waimalu Trail. He was a homebuilder from Bendigo, Australia.

Meryl Robertson of Melbourne said 15 family members including Parsons' children and grandchildren returned to search the trail again and follow up on some clues that have been unearthed since last year.

Last spring, pig hunters found Parsons' pension card, a pair of dentures and a human leg bone, said Robertson, Parsons' daughter.

Police ran DNA tests on the bone, but the results were inconclusive. Further results could take a year, so the family will take a sample of bone back to Australia for more tests, she said.

“;We're very anxious to find out if this is our dad or not,”; she said.

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A positive match would be a step closer to finding closure.

“;It's been hard to move on because there's so many unanswered questions,”; Robertson said.

“;It's hard to just sort of grieve and say, 'It's over,'”; she said. “;Even if we do find out it's him, we feel like we need to know what happened to him.”;

After Parsons was reported missing, firefighters searched for five days, covering more than 12 miles, and family members flew to Honolulu to join the search. Police assured the family that there was no crime.

Robertson said her father's pension card and dentures were found about 2.5 miles from the trail head, and a hunting dog carried the leg bone in from an unknown location.

The family went to where pig hunters found the items for more clues, searching in an overgrown creek bed that had been underwater last year.

For two days family members searched the trail, which was so thick with vegetation it became hard to move.

The family also held a memorial at a plaque that the family posted at the trail head last year to memorialize Parsons.

While the family returned home on Saturday, Robertson felt the quest has been productive and knows she will have to return to Hawaii again.

Anyone with information on Parsons is asked to call police.