While researching for PEDESTRIAN.TV‘s unsolved mysteries / true crime podcast All Aussie Mystery Hour, I’ve come across a lot of wild tales and crazy yarns. But the story of Rack Man really grabbed me.
In the early hours of August 11 1994, a fisherman trawling the peaceful waters of NSW’s Hawkesbury River felt an almighty tug in his net, but his catch wasn’t the nice big haul of squid he was hoping for.
No, it was a metal cross covered in plastic bags — and under those bags were the decaying remains of a human body. Police were called immediately, but since the body had been submerged for some time (a least a year, by the coroner’s estimation) it was difficult to collect any forensic evidence.
The coroner could tell it was the body of a man, a rather diminutive one at that (around 165cm), who had dark hair and may have been of Mediterranean heritage.
Forensic anthropologists worked with the man’s bone structure to create a facial reconstruction for police to circulate, and once that was made public, many members of the public came forward with possible identifications of the man, who became known as “Rack Man” thanks to the metal contraption he was found strapped to (not because of his penchant for nose beers), which appeared to have been custom made for the man.
It’s not known whether he was alive or dead when dumped into the Hawkesbury.
In Season 1 Episode 13 of All Aussie Mystery Hour, entitled “Who Tied A Bloke To A Cross And Dumped Him In The Hawkesbury River?” we look at the various missing men thought to be Rack Man, and talk about who could have murdered him and put him on the cross.
And make sure you join the All Aussie Mystery Hour Facebook group HERE to share your own thoughts and theories about the case.