A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy saw two men putting a bundle wrapped in a shower curtain into the boot of a car two days after Mildura toddler Joedan Andrews disappeared, an inquest has been told.
The men had taken the bundle from under a black couch at a tip close to the house from which Joedan had disappeared, the witness, now in his teens, said yesterday.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court the two men were Colin “Collyboy” Moore, the boyfriend of Joedan’s mother, and his younger brother John “Johnnyboy” Moore.
“Johnnyboy opened the boot and Collyboy put the bag in?” asked lawyer Stephen Rushton, SC.
“Yeah,” replied the witness.
But the witness said he could not recall having told police in a statement at the time that he had earlier overheard one of the men say to the other: “We’ll go over here to the tip and move the little kid.”
He agreed with Mr Rushton that he was frightened about giving evidence in case he got into trouble in some way.
Joedan Andrews, who was also known as Joedan Morgan, was 2 1/2 years old when he was reported missing by his mother, Sarah Andrews, on December 15, 2002.
She said she woke and found he was gone from the house she was sharing with Colin Moore in Dareton, NSW. A month later partial remains found close to the tip were identified as his.
The inquest was earlier told that when Joedan was living in Mildura in 2002, several notifications to Victoria’s child protection services were made by people worried about his safety, including his maternal grandmother.
Police suspected that Joedan might have been run over by a car, a forensic investigator told the inquest yesterday. Detective Senior Constable Ian West said he found a crusted bloodstain and swerving tyre marks on a dirt track near the tip. The stain was “straddled by tyre marks”, he said.
Senior Constable West said he also examined a beige armchair at the tip, which had been soaked with biological fluids and had a foul odour. Near it he found part of the shoulder blade of a small child.
Dareton resident Darren Williams had been drinking and smoking marijuana at Colin Moore’s house the night Joedan disappeared. He told the court that Ms Andrews and Colin Moore had asked him to babysit Joedan. He told them he was going to sleep and to wake him when they left.
He heard a car leave in the early hours, possibly 4am, and checked every room but Joedan was not there. He assumed Joedan was with his mother and went back to bed, he said.
He knew nothing of the child’s disappearance until Colin Moore woke him the next morning and asked him where Joedan was. But Mr Williams said: “They never left him here with me. I know that for a fact. And he know it too.”
The inquest continues.
First published in The Age.