Paul Jones wants to know how his three-year-old son Lachlan died , and has now hired a private investigator.
On the night his son died, almost a year ago on January 29, 2020, Jones said Gore police told him Lachlan’s death was an accidental drowning after he was found in a wastewater pond in Gore. His death has been referred to the coroner.
Jones still doesn’t know how his son got to the pond, and he’s appointed the investigator and a new lawyer from outside the southern district to look into the case.
“It’s devastating not knowing what happened. If it was an accident then maybe that would make it a bit easier, but I don’t believe it was an accident.”
READ MORE: Police looking again at mysterious death in Gore Gore District Council charged after child drowns in wastewater ponds Council fences wastewater ponds following drowning of three year old No police charges after child drowns in Gore District Council wastewater pond
Jones does not believe Lachlan walked to the pond unaided because there were no marks on his bare feet.
“I need the truth to come out. Not just for me, but for my son. He should have still been here as far as I’m concerned.”
Police announced in July 2020 that no charges would be laid in relation to Lachlan’s death.
In October, after Jones went to the media with his concerns about the outcome of the police investigation, Detective Inspector Shona Low said police would conduct a review of the case.
This week, a police spokesperson said: “the investigation remains open, and we have revisited a number of aspects of the file as part of the review. This has been managed by a Detective Inspector along with a number of other CIB investigators. We have no further updates to provide currently.”
Jones’ private investigator is expected to begin work in Gore next week.
“First he’s [the investigator] going through the original police file, and then he’ll make his presence down here and re-investigate it on my behalf. He’ll look at how things were done and timelines, and put it all together,’’ Jones said.
“The first thing that I’d like to know is how my son got out there. Where’s the proof [he walked]? I’ve got to be given some sort of proof that he has walked out there.’’
The wastewater ponds where Lachlan drowned was about 1.2km from his home.
Jones said he’s more hopeful, rather than optimistic, that there would be an outcome that answered his questions about how Lachlan died, from the police review of the case.
“Police can’t come back with the same scenario, it’s not feasible to. It would be a travesty if they did.
“I’ve had a meeting with them, and they said it would be investigated as if it was a homicide. That was way before Christmas and I’m expecting to have another meeting with them in February.’’
In the days after the death, police appealed for sightings of Lachlan on the night he died.
He was found by police about 11.15pm.
It was thought he had wandered from his mother’s home on Salford St, traversed a fence and walked through long, prickly grass to reach the wastewater pond. It was a distance of more than a kilometre and Lachlan had a full nappy, Jones said.
His bare feet did not have a scratch on them, his Dad said.
Rather than being a kid that wandered, he was clingy and well-behaved, Jones said.
“It’s not in his nature to just take off and walk away. It was massively out of character, I just couldn’t believe it.’’
Jones said his son’s death was not getting any easier to deal with it.
“Having some answers might make it easier but the pain will never go away. It’s surprised me how strong I’ve been, but that’s for my son.
“I wished for 20 years to be a dad and I couldn’t believe it when I had Lachlan.’’
The Gore District Council has pleaded not guilty to charges bought by WorkSafe about the death.
Since Lachlan’s death the council has fenced the ponds.