By Trevor Baxter
POLICE INVESTIGATING the identity of ‘Chew Track man’ are going global in their search for answers.
DNA samples from the mystery pensioner who was found dead in Greenfield on the path leading to Chew Reservoir on December 12 have been sent to Interpol-International Crime Police Organisation.
The case details have also been sent to producers of the popular BBC Crimewatch programme.
And detectives are also awaiting results of DNA samples taken from a Northern Ireland family after reports the unidentified man could be Hugh Toner, a grandfather who has been missing for more than two decades.
Hugh, who would now be 78, disappeared in February 1994 from a hospital in Northern Ireland and has never been found, despite numerous appeals by his family.
But the Saddleworth Independent understands this lead is unconnected with latest reports linking the mystery man to a plane crash on Wimberry Moss, above Greenfield in 1949.
A BEA Douglas Dakota en route from Belfast to Manchester crashed into Wimberry Rocks – known locally as ‘Indian’s Head’ – in poor visibility, killing 24 people.
Cops have ruled out that the smart dressed man could be one of two child survivors as one, Michael Prestwich, later died in a train accident while Stephen Evans has contacted police this week.
But he could possibly be a relative of someone on the doomed flight, which eight passengers survived.
The Air Investigation Unit and the National Crime Agency are involved in the search for names and addresses to people connected with the 80-minute flight.
“It’s an on-going, large piece of work and one of our lines of inquiry,” confirmed Detective Sergeant John Coleman.
The man, who travelled from Ealing in London to Saddleworth via Manchester Piccadilly a fortnight before Christmas, has been aged between 65-75.
He was found with £130 in cash and three train tickets in his pockets. There was also a small plastic bottle of thyroxine sodium in his possession.
An initial post mortem into the man’s cause of death proved inconclusive and police are awaiting toxicology reports and a secondary post mortem is due next week.
“There is no evidence of third party involvement or foul play,” added DS Coleman. “Thyroxine sodium is used for minor thyroid illnesses. You can’t overdose on it so that’s another negative line of inquiry.
“I have got two large box files running for this investigation and all inquiries are being investigated.
“We have had calls from the public saying: ‘it could be this gentleman, it could be that gentleman’ but most have been eliminated from the inquiry.
Sweeps of the Missing Persons database have also taken place using possible photographic leads but these too have drawn blanks.
“In this day and age for someone to have no identification is unique,” added DS Coleman. “But the investigation will continue indefinitely until we get him identified.
“DNA has been sent to our colleagues at Interpol just in case he has come in from abroad. With Crimewatch, it is a very popular programme and a lot of people watch it. We might get a hit with someone knowing him.
“Someone must know him. There must be a family member who knows him,” continued DS Coleman.
“He must be someone’s neighbour, someone who went down to the local pub or played bowls.
“I have been in this job a long time and colleagues who have been in the job a long time and none of us have known a situation like it.”
Anyone who recognises this man or has any information should phone police on 0161 872 5050 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.