New details have emerged surrounding the missing persons call that sent police to a property where a shootout resulted in the deaths of two officers.
Nathaniel Train, his brother Gareth and Gareth’s wife Stacey were holed up in the Wieambilla property when four Queensland Police officers arrived to conduct a welfare check on December 12.
The officers were ambushed by the trio, leaving Constables Matthew Arnold, 26, and Rachel McCrow, 29, dead, along with neighbour Alan Dare who was caught in the crossfire. The Trains were killed later that night in a firefight with heavily armed tactical officers.
Now, Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford has revealed more details about why police were sent to the property, after speculation it was the killers themselves who lured officers in with a false missing persons report.
“That missing persons report came from his wife in NSW, who had not physically seen him for over 12 months,” Deputy Commissioner Linford said, referring to Nathaniel.
“She had not had an opportunity to even speak with him by phone since May of this year. She had a genuine concern for his welfare. And as a consequence of that she reported him missing to the NSW police, who then relayed a request to the Queensland police to attend the address in Wieambilla to see if he was there.”
When asked if the wife’s call was a “premeditated attempt to coax police onto that property”, Deputy Commissioner Linford said it’s not likely.
“We don’t think so, she had a genuine concern for his well-being,” she said, though she did confirm that the wife identified the Wieambilla property as a location where her husband could be. Police are still investigating whether or not the Trains had any knowledge that officers were headed to the property on December 12.
Nathaniel Train was a wanted man, and police had repeatedly visited the remote property looking for him, Deputy Commissioner Linford said.
A warrant was issued for Train's arrest after the former school teacher crossed the Queensland border during the Covid pandemic on December 17 last year armed with multiple registered firearms.
His car became bogged crossing into Queensland, damaging a border gate before leaving two guns behind during the 2021 incident.
"Police did try and go to the property to locate him to have a discussion with him about … that day and why he was crossing the border, and why he left two firearms behind," Deputy Commissioner Linford said.
During the visits to the property, police were unable to talk to anyone and left messages by card and by phone, but didn’t get a response. “There was nothing to indicate that Nathaniel was at that address,” Deputy Commissioner Linford said.
His brother Gareth Train's only history with Queensland Police was an offence of unlawful possession of a firearm dating back to 1998. Stacey Train had no criminal history, though in a strange twist revealed after the shooting, it came to light that she was formally married to Nathaniel before wedding Gareth.
Profiles are currently being completed of each of the Train family members, which will help police form a timeline of their activities leading up to the attack.
- with AAP
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