Murder suspect charged
A LENNOX HEAD man has been charged with the murder of missing Byron Bay man John ‘Jack’ Garda.
The 38-year-old man appeared briefly in the Lismore Local Court on Saturday.
He was refused bail and ordered to appear again today.
Mr Garda, also known as Kashava, was last seen three weeks ago, sparking grave fears among his friends and family who described his disappearance as completely out of character.
The 54-year-old Byron Bay businessman had serious concerns for his own well-being, reportedly telling a friend just before he disappeared to ‘call the police’ if he didn’t return from a meeting.
Police descended on Lennox Head shortly afterwards when a bag containing Mr Garda’s wallet and identification turned up there.
Tweed-Byron detectives called in the State Crime Command’s homicide squad on February 10, forming Strike Force Whip to investigate Mr Garda’s disappearance. Detectives from the Richmond Local Area Command also assisted.
Police could not confirm yesterday if Mr Garda’s body, or a murder weapon, had been found, or if more arrests were expected.
Following police inquiries, the 38-year-old Lennox Head man attended Lismore police station about 12.30pm on Friday.
He was interviewed before being arrested and charged with Mr Garda’s murder.
Mr Garda, who lived at Federal, owned and operated two businesses in Byron Bay – the Byron Bay Newsroom at Sunrise Beach and the 24/7 grocery store in Jonson Street.
The sub-newsagency was packed up and closed indefinitely last Tuesday.
The long-time Byron Shire resident previously owned Katoush, a popular Middle Eastern takeaway in The Plaza near Woolworths in Byron Bay.
Police are still seeking assistance from the public with their investigation into Mr Garda’s disappearance.
They have appealed to anyone who may have anyinformation about the incident, or events leading up to it, to contact Byron Bay police on 6685 9499 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.