FROM behind the walls of the top-security Supermax prison, Malcolm Naden has been talking.
As recently as Tuesday, police visited the accused murderer in his Goulburn jail cell and heard enough to send them to a popular country picnic spot, digging for one of Naden’s cousins Lateesha Nolan, who has not been seen for seven years.
Following his arrest three weeks ago, Naden was charged with killing 24-year-old mother-of-two Kristy Scholes, found strangled in his bedroom six months after Ms Nolan went missing in 2005.
Naden had fled and continued to evade police for another 2466 days and nights.
During his extended time on the run, the former abattoir worker was repeatedly named by police as the prime suspect in the disappearance of Ms Nolan, a mother-of-four, in January 2005.
Her body has never been found.
Naden had not been charged over the disappearance, but Ms Nolan’s family was hoping yesterday that with the latest breakthrough, that situation would change.
For more images from the police search, click on the picture.
Her distraught father, Mick Peet, said yesterday he got ‘‘a tingly feeling all through’’ his body when he was told by police of the development.
‘‘It’s been seven years of wanting to know what happened to my daughter since she disappeared,’’ he said.
‘‘So we’re just hoping that today will be the start of a bit of closure for me and the family.’’
It was understood a lucid Naden had struck up a rapport with two Strike Force Durkin investigators, leading to several conversations which, in turn, led to the Butlers Falls picnic area about five kilometres outside Dubbo.
On the banks of the Macquarie River, the area is popular with the Dubbo population both as a place for a family lunch and an isolated place for late-night drinking parties and rendezvous.
Even Mr Peet, who now resides in Bundaberg in Queensland, recalled yesterday spending many nights with friends on the banks of the river.
By yesterday afternoon, what looked like a targeted slab of earth and river silt about 40 metres long had been lifted by excavators.
The work has been made more difficult by the 2010 Christmas floods which ripped through the area, pouring more than 15metres of water over the digging zone and leaving tonnes of silt.
It has also raised questions of what could have been dislodged and carried downstream by the floodwater.
The area has long been a place of interest to Strike Force Durkin investigators.
As the Macquarie River meanders towards Dubbo, it passes within a kilometre of the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, an open area zoo where Naden was known to have hidden after Ms Scholes’s body was discovered and where he was first able to escape from police when confronted.
Last October, a wallet belonging to Ms Nolan was discovered on a riverbank between Butlers Falls and the Dubbo town centre.
Police have declined to comment on developments in the investigation, and have refused to confirm that they were looking for Ms Nolan’s remains.