“His mum, she doesn’t sleep well. We hope he is somewhere.”
Di immigrated from China to Australia with his family as an eight-year-old boy, before settling in Melbourne’s southeast where he attended Dandenong High School before working alongside family as a plasterer.
His Hampton Park apartment, which he shared with his mom and stepfather was destroyed by fire in December 2000. According to investigators, Di was responsible for the fire that occurred when his family discovered it had been started by a single cigarette.
In the months that followed, he moved to his father’s Dandenong South home but became increasingly depressed and withdrawn before vanishing in February 2001.
Hayes was a Dandenong Criminal Investigation Unit Detective. He said extensive police investigations had failed to find the 21 year-old. After reports were made, police reached out to New Zealanders and Sydney police officers.
His passport has never been used for any bank transactions or other movements. No sightings have ever been confirmed.
“He blamed himself for the fire and there was a lot of stress on the family at that time,” Hayes said.
“Solving the case really lies in the hands of the public now. There must be someone out there who knows something. Someone must have spoken to him since.”
As part of National Missing Persons Week, launching today, the faces of eight long-term missing persons – including Di – will feature on buses and other public billboards in an attempt to help find answers.
Campaign called Without them, The site aims to assist people in identifying with missing persons and considering their responses to the loss of a close friend or family member.
There are more than 2500 people who have been reported missing in Australia for long periods. 53,000 of these reports were made in the 2021.
The photographs of eight people who have been missing from each territory and state will be displayed on donated space worth approximately $2.5 million, which includes billboards, buses and bus windows.
Jason Kennedy from the Australian Federal Police spoke on behalf of Acting Commissioner. He stated that the week-long action was intended to increase awareness about the problems surrounding these cases, including the unanswered question.
“I encourage all Australians to take a look at the profiles of our long-term missing, share the posts and keep the families of those missing in your thoughts,” Kennedy said.
Naomi Busbridge, Naomi’s brother Paul Baker disappeared from the Northern Territory in august last year.
“There are so many questions and no answers. You wonder why, you wonder where, and you wonder if you will ever see them again,” Busbridge said.
“You wonder if this will ever end or whether it will be like a giant void … forever.”