Wattle Ridge, Bargo: Tragic development as body of missing bushwalker is found two weeks after he mysteriously vanished in bushland


A bushwalker has tragically been found dead after he vanished almost two weeks prior on what was supposed to be a one-day hike.

Police announced on Thursday afternoon that the search for 57-year-old Darren Banks had come to an end after his body was found in bushland south of Campbeltown, south-west Sydney.

He was last seen in good health and well prepared for a hike through the bushland at a home in Macquarie Fields, in south-west Sydney, about 4pm on Friday, March 15.

His family expected him to return home the following day but instead reported him missing the following Tuesday. 

Police thanked the local community for their help in searching for Mr Banks and confirmed a report will be prepared for the coroner. 

The body of hiker, Darren Banks, 57, has been discovered in a bushland in Sydney's south-west  after he vanished two weeks ago

The body of hiker, Darren Banks, 57, has been discovered in a bushland in Sydney’s south-west  after he vanished two weeks ago

Darren Banks was in good health and well prepared for the hike and was expected to return home the following day with plans to spend that weekend with family

Darren Banks was in good health and well prepared for the hike and was expected to return home the following day with plans to spend that weekend with family

Police confirmed he made it to the hiking trail after finding his car parked 80km away, near Starlights Trail in Wattle Ridge, south of Sydney, 15km west of Bargo, last Thursday.

It is understood Mr Banks is familiar with the walking trail but it is considered difficult terrain.

‘Now it is it is quite remote spot deep in the bush. There’s not a lot of people out there,’ Detective Inspector Andrew Mackay said.

However, there is significant access to fresh water and family said he was in ‘very good health’ before leaving home two weeks ago.

SES crews have assisted with the land search over the last week, though no trace has been found to date.

Detectives have been able to track his movements before leaving Macquarie Fields on the Friday, and say he visited the shopping centre earlier that day.

‘He did some shopping but there’s no purchases that can assist (our investigation) any further,’ Detective Mackay said.

Police believe he may have been bushwalking towards Ahearn Lookout or Emmets Flat campground area, about an hour south of Campbelltown. 

Police confirmed he made it to the hiking trail after finding his car parked near the Starlights Trail in Wattle Ridge, 15km west of Bargo, last Thursday

Police confirmed he made it to the hiking trail after finding his car parked near the Starlights Trail in Wattle Ridge, 15km west of Bargo, last Thursday



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