Paddy Moriarty Missing Update – Are you prepared to explore the strange true-crime tale in the little village of Larrimah, deep within the Australian Outback? “Last Stop Larrimah: Murder Down Under,” the newest documentary from HBO, transports viewers to a remote area of Australia where people hardly ever reach double digits and secrets are deeply ingrained. This compelling documentary, premiering on October 8 at 9 p.m., is executive-produced by the talented Duplass Brothers and directed by Thomas Tancred, a filmmaker with a unique connection to Australia.
A colorful ensemble of eccentric individuals awaits you on this true-crime journey, including Fran Hodgetts, renowned for her pies and prickly demeanor, and many more who live in this isolated outpost. The documentary explores the colorful arguments among the town’s citizens and the town’s rich history. Of particular interest is the cold case of Paddy Moriarty, a 70-year-old man who vanished from sight in December 2017 together with his devoted dog.
Despite Larrimah’s diminutive size, there is still much to learn about Paddy Moriarty’s abduction. This remote village has no police station or mobile connectivity, making it a world unto itself. In addition, as the documentary progresses, you’ll see the difficult process of assembling a puzzle with missing pieces in a place where conspiracy theories abound and everyone has a tale to tell about the man who disappeared.
Come along as we examine the mystery of Paddy Moriarty and the fascinating circumstances surrounding his disappearance in the middle of Australia’s vast interior.
Who is Paddy Moriarty and What Happened to Him?
Not just any Australian, Paddy Moriarty was extraordinary. He was born on March 30, 1947, in Limerick, Ireland, and set out on an incredible life odyssey that took him to the isolated Outback of Australia. He made the enormous and cruel decision to relocate to Australia at the age of 18, having no known relations there.
Paddy had a wide range of experiences throughout his life in the Outback. He performed a variety of jobs on cattle stations, including ringer, grader driver, station hand, and heavy machinery operator. In addition, Paddy was well-known for his love of the rodeo circuit, having made a name for himself in Darwin in 1996 by taking home a highly sought-after belt buckle.
In his private life, Paddy’s partner Dorothy Rankine’s passing in the year 2000 left a permanent imprint on his heart. Paddy decided not to get married between 2003 and 2017, the year of his alleged demise. In the town of Larrimah, he was more than simply a face in the crowd—he was a notable character.
After relocating to Larrimah in 2008, Paddy made an interesting acquisition in 2010 for $30,000: a shuttered gas station. About 12 people live in Larrimah, which is 158 kilometers south of Katherine on the Stuart Highway. It is a location where time seems to have stopped. The closest service location, Mataranka, is 76 kilometers north of Larrimah and offers cell phone connectivity.
Working at the Larrimah Hotel, Paddy Moriarty found his niche in Larrimah. His daily tasks included caring to the plants, cleaning the camp toilets, doing washing, and setting up the rooms. Like clockwork, Paddy would sit in his favorite chair, which was on the left side of the hotel’s main entrance after lunch. There, he would enjoy his beer and extend a hearty greeting to guests, emulating the essence of small-town friendliness.
‘Fran’s Tea House‘ was located next to the only public phone box in the far-flung village, towards the city’s northern edge. Paddy lived at an abandoned service station called ‘Top of the Town,’ which was situated just over the highway from the tea restaurant. In early November 2017, Paddy brought an eleven-month-old red kelpie named “Kellie” into his life following losing his first dog in December 2016.
Paddy Moriarty was a man of rituals and exacting standards. Paddy lived a steady existence, whether it was because he always wore thongs and a cap or hat or because his house was always spotless. His careful attitude was reflected in his dedication to his work at the hotel. The people of Larrimah were used to his routine: taking his devoted dog for morning walks and taking care of hotel tasks till midday. He saved the afternoons for sipping a few drinks, and he usually departed the hotel at 4:30 p.m. unless he had interesting talks to participate in.
On December 16, 2017, Paddy followed his regular schedule. Kellie followed him as he rode his red Honda quad bike to the motel. At 2:29 p.m., he visited the bar area, completed a standard EFTPOS transaction, and took out $40 after carefully cleaning the facilities. He bought eight XXXX Gold beers from the bar in two transactions and savored them while lounging in his favorite chair.
A family from Katherine who had traveled to Larrimah with their small daughter arrived that fatal afternoon. They went to a supermarket to buy goods, including grilled chicken and then drove to Larrimah for lunch. While Kellie’s mother took pictures and the daughter patted her, Paddy sat in his usual chair at the door. Paddy told the resort owner before he left that night that he wouldn’t be working the next day but would come by at lunchtime to pick up the mower.
The mother gave Paddy the remaining chicken so Kellie could eat it while he mounted his red quad bike with Kellie curled up on the back. Seemingly going about his business, he rode off toward his home, which was only a few hundred meters distant.
Around 10:30 p.m., the evening brought Larrimah heavy rain, but by the next morning, the weather had cleared. Still, Paddy was nowhere to be found on December 17 and 18. Fears escalated, particularly after hotel owner Bill Sharpe visited Paddy’s home on December 18 at around 10:00 a.m. Not even Paddy answered when I knocked and called aloud.
Sharpe found the back screen door unlocked and entered the house, which was clean but empty. Neither Paddy nor his devoted dog were in sight. Since the rear gate was open, Sharpe surmised that Paddy could be taking Kellie for a stroll. There was no sign of them despite his searching the dump road.
Another Larrimah resident, Rayner stopped by the hotel later in the evening to pick up his mail. That’s when he found out about Paddy going missing, and on December 19, he and his wife started looking for Paddy. In an attempt to locate him, they concentrated their efforts on his home and the land around it.
The rain gauge was still in its original position, Paddy’s sunglasses were still on the quad bike, the screen door was still unlocked, the kitchen fan was still running, Paddy’s hat and caps were inside, the medication was still in the refrigerator, food containers were still on the table, the dog bowl was still full of food, the bedroom fan was still running, and the bed didn’t look to have been made.
After several hours of searching without finding Paddy or Kellie, Rayner and his spouse decided to call the police. They contacted Sharpe on December 19, at 4:00 p.m., and he immediately called the police.
Has Paddy Moriarty Been Found?
A thorough search commenced on December 20 with the police’s arrival. They searched on foot and with a motorbike, but neither Paddy nor Kellie could be found. There were more questions than answers for the search crews.
The search was put on hold briefly on December 23, and the authorities started looking into the potential of foul play. A thorough investigation that included motorbike and helicopter searches up to 10 kilometers from Larrimah was conducted between December 28 and December 30. However, the investigation turned up no significant information on Paddy or his cherished dog.
Hope faded in the next few months as the riddle grew more complex. Again, from May 11 to May 14, 2018, a search for evidence was carried out; unfortunately, nothing of note turned up. The disappearance of Paddy’s dog was possibly the most troubling feature of this perplexing situation, particularly in light of any purported medical emergencies.
Then, things changed dramatically in April 2022. Presenting the results of his inquest, coroner Greg Cavanagh revealed a sad conclusion. The evidence indicates that Paddy and his dog met their demise on December 16, 2017, the evening they were last observed riding a quad bike home from the town’s tavern.
The inquest results showed that Paddy and his neighbors in the little town of Larrimah had a history of disagreements. According to the report, he had a history of damaging items and plants on the land across from his house. Directly across from Paddy lived Fran Hodgetts, the owner of a Devonshire teahouse in the town, and her gardener and caretaker, Owen Laurie.
According to the coroner, “In my opinion, Paddy and his dog were killed in the context of and likely due to the ongoing feud he had with his nearest neighbor. There is no evidence as to where he went,” he said, citing the evidence that proved Paddy had left while making dinner. But I think Fran was probably drawn to the new plants at his house.”
Eight secret police recordings and the inquest’s conclusions were presented and played in court. These recordings were taken not far from Paddy’s house, on his neighbor’s land. A man’s voice was captured, occasionally singing and saying terrifying things such, “F***ing killed Paddy, hit him on the head.” smacked him with my claw hammer on the f***king nostrils.” The male, whose identity was withheld, boasted in later recordings, “I killed (sic) old Paddy. I killed the b***ard by striking him in the f***king skull and basherated (sic) him.”
Owen Laurie denied any relationship to the voice on the tapes during his April 2022 court appearance, claiming he was unaware of Paddy’s abduction. Given the chance of coming out as guilty, he decided to remain silent. The Coroner’s Act prohibits a finding that suggests a person may be guilty of an offense. As a result, the case has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Commissioner of Police for additional action or investigation.
Paddy’s disappearance was a singular case, as Det. Sgt. Matt Allen noted, calling it a “once-in-a-generation case.” “Murder investigations are difficult, especially in cases where there is no body,” he continued. Until the matter is resolved, it remains open. We must locate Paddy.”
Two more accusations surfaced during the April 2022 inquest. Worker Wayne Ledwidge stated in his testimony that he heard Fran and his friend Brian Roberts—who has since died away—talk. Wayne stated that Brian was purportedly promised $10,000 by Fran to “eliminate” Paddy. Fran claimed in a virtual testimony that she didn’t know Brian and denied having any such conversation.
In his testimony, Michael Pangquee, a truck driver, stated that he overheard Richard Simpson accusing someone else of being involved in the murder. The police asserted that there was insufficient evidence to back up these assertions.
The Northern Territory police offered a $250,000 reward for information leading to the resolution of Paddy Moriarty’s strange disappearance. This incentive is still in place, a ray of hope in an otherwise mysterious and unsolved case.
Although Paddy’s neighbors are described in the coroner’s inquest as likely persons of interest in the case, no charges have been brought against anyone, and Paddy and his dog’s bodies are still missing.
What Are the Ongoing Challenges in the Search for Paddy Moriarty and Kellie?
For both the community and detectives, the case of Paddy Moriarty’s disappearance in the isolated Australian hamlet of Larrimah poses several difficult obstacles. Like:
Geographic seclusion: It is extremely difficult for investigators to handle Larrimah’s seclusion in the Australian Outback. Katherine, the closest large town, is an intimidating 158 kilometers distant. It is very difficult to obtain evidence because of this isolation, which also results in less access to resources, fewer possible witnesses, and a lack of security camera coverage.
Harsh Environment: There are difficulties because of the harsh Outback environment. A hostile environment is created for any search operation by the extreme heat, isolated location, and presence of potentially harmful species. These circumstances raise the possibility of evidence deterioration over time and make it difficult to perform exhaustive searches.
Lack of Surveillance: Surveillance cameras are common in metropolitan environments, helping law enforcement to monitor activity and identify possible suspects. But there aren’t many, if any, security cameras in Larrimah and the surrounding area due to the lack of petrol stations and the isolated character of the area. It is more difficult to follow Paddy’s last known movements because of this absence of surveillance.
Animal Predators: A range of predators, such as feral pigs and snakes, can be found in the Australian bush. The existence of such creatures may make it more difficult to find remains or other evidence in the case of foul play. These creatures might disperse or eat possible hints, making the situation even more confusing.
Limited Witnesses: Larrimah is a small town with only about 12 residents, thus there aren’t many possible witnesses to Paddy’s abduction. Because of this small group of people, finding important information or leads may not be easy.
Tight-Knit Community: The dynamics of Larrimah’s small town contribute to the case’s intricacy. Since neighbors and friends are frequently in close quarters, some residents could be reluctant to come forward with information that might implicate them. This tight-knit sense of community may make it difficult for important information to flow.
Unresolved Questions: What exactly occurred to Paddy Moriarty and Kellie remains unresolved, even after the coroner’s inquiry and the discovery of unsettling audio recordings. The absence of a body and convincing evidence still baffles detectives and haunts the town.
The search for Paddy Moriarty and Kellie continues despite these obstacles. Law enforcement, the community, and individuals fascinated by the mystery surrounding Larrimah are all putting out great effort to solve this puzzling case and bring closure to the people involved.
The mystery surrounding Paddy Moriarty’s disappearance remains in the heart of the Australian Outback, demonstrating the persistence of the search for justice and the truth even in the most inaccessible and harsh environments.