“He was a quiet kid, but I can still hear him when he talks to me — he had such a long tone like John Wayne,” Craigie said.
Police theory at the time of Haines’ death was that he was involved in a stolen car rollover, left the scene, and was struck by a train. Craigie said it wasn’t Haines’ character.
“Mark wasn’t a violent person, we knew our boy,” Craigie said.
“I told Mark’s family to get on with your life – I’ll take care of it.”
Craigie believes that police showed a “pattern of inadequacy” in investigating Aboriginal deaths in the state of New South Wales in the 1980s.
He likened it to the failure of police to properly deal with hate crimes against gays in Sydney in the same age.
Every year, on the anniversary of Haines’ death, Craigie travels to Tamworth Police Station to request information, inquiries, inquiries and anything that will advance the case.
The doubling of the reward and a guilty verdict in Scott Johnson’s cold murder earlier this year gives Craigie hope that today’s police force can get answers.
“If you have something, no matter how tiny or irrelevant to you — it could be the last piece of that puzzle,” Craigie said.
“It’s all there in black and white and it’s in my hands.”
Craigie has long harbored doubts about the identity of the Haines killers, even after a coroner concluded in 1989 that Haines was likely killed by a train.
Homicide and local investigators reviewed the case in 2022 and submitted a report to the coroner.
Oxley Police District Crime Commissioner Jason Darcy confirmed in January this year that investigators had also identified persons of interest.
NSW Greens MP Sue Higginson, whose party has urged authorities to re-examine the case, said police “abandoned Mark, his family and the community” in 1988 – so it is significant to see progress being made now.
“A new inquest and the now increased reward for information are essential steps towards justice,” Higginson said.
Craigie and his attorney hope the reward will shed new information that could be considered by the coroner when another inquest begins in April 2024.
“[Friday’s] “The announcement of a $1 million reward for information surrounding Mark’s death is the clearest sign that there is someone in the community who knows what happened to Mark that night in January 1988,” said James Pender of the Aboriginal Legal Service.
“And if anyone can help, we encourage them to reach out.”
Pender said Craigie’s fight has been “brave and lifelong” and hopes it will yield answers soon.
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