The last friend to see missing teenager Jack Burns alive has recalled the final moments the pair shared in the car together before he disappeared into bushland without a trace.
Jack, 18, was last seen getting out of a friend’s car shortly before 8pm on November 13, 2016, near Thornton train station in the NSW Hunter region, to go to bushland.
The Metford teenager did not have his phone or wallet with him and was wearing a faded blue singlet, blue board shorts and work boots.
He has not been seen or heard from since. His phone and social media accounts have been inactive since then.
Jack has been presumed dead since the night he was last seen on 13 November 2016 with no sightings.
Matt Hindwood and partner Courtney Jones, the last people to see Jack, recalled the encounter on the second day of the coroner’s inquest on Tuesday.
Jack Burns, 18, (pictured) was last seen getting out of a friend’s car in bushland near Thornton train station in the NSW Hunter region on the evening of November 13, 2016.
Matt Hindwood (pictured) was one of the last people to see Jack and recalled the encounter on the second day of the coroner’s inquest on Tuesday.
Jack had spent the previous 48 hours at their home after losing his job on Friday.
The pair became friends after meeting at TAFE nine months ago.
Mr. Hindwood came home on Friday afternoon and found Jack sleeping on his porch.
‘He was upset and didn’t seem himself,’ she told the inquest.
Jack spent most of that weekend drinking, watching movies and playing Monopoly with the couple and another friend at their East Maitland home.
Mr Hindwood gave evidence about Jack’s drug use that weekend.
‘He was definitely stressed, I could tell he wasn’t his usual funny self,’ he said.
On Sunday night, the situation escalated when Jack became agitated.
Mr Hindwood and Mrs Jones tried to calm Jack down and moments later, he got into the car with them to be dropped off at East Maitland train station.
During the drive, they stop to buy cigarettes at a nearby IGA before asking Jack to take them to Thornton Station instead.
But on Hausman Drive near Tripp Close, became agitated again and yelled for them to stop the car and let him go.
‘He grabbed the back of the seat and shook it,’ Mr Hindwood told the inquest.
He said the pair then spent five minutes smoking cigarettes together.
‘He started to calm down,’ Mr Hindwood recalled.
‘He said ‘I’m going to meet a mate up the road’ and I’ll see him tomorrow and not to stress.’
‘He hugged me and said, ‘See you tomorrow.’
He said he saw Jack going into the bushland.
‘He lived in a suburb and knew he had a lot of mates in the area so I wasn’t too worried,’ Mr Hindwood said.
Jack’s mother Karen Goodelz (right) and stepfather Michael were present for the second day, supported by Jack’s older brother and younger sisters Makayla and Mia.
Jack’s mother Karen Goodelz and stepfather Michael were present for the second day, supported by his older brother Cody and younger sisters Makayla and Mia. Members of his family are pictured outside Lidcombe Coroners Court where an inquest is being held
The next day, Mr. Hindwood goes to work and doesn’t discover that Jack is missing until that afternoon.
This comes after hearing harrowing details about Jack’s last days before his disappearance on the first day of the investigation.
In the days before her disappearance, she had lost her job due to an altercation with a colleague at work.
Jack asked his parents for $1,200 to help pay off his debt and sent a chilling Snapchat message to a friend that simply said ‘dead’.
The police’s efforts to locate Jack have also been questioned after his mother Karen Goodelz and stepfather Michael reported him missing the next day.
Detective Senior Constable Christopher Walker took over as officer-in-charge of the investigation eight days later on 21 November 2016, coinciding with the first major police search for Jack.
Police divers were not deployed to sweep local dams until late March 2017 when police dogs were called in for another two months.
Det Sr Const Walker told the court no risk assessment had been carried out on the basis of the urgency of the inquiry surrounding Jack’s disappearance.
Jack’s mother and stepfather attended for the second day, supported by his older brother Cody and younger sisters Makayla and Mia.
Deputy State Coroner Carmel Forbes told Jack’s family at the start of the inquest they would be given the chance to ‘bring the person back to life’ at the end of the evidence.
Jack Burns (back left) was not himself after losing his job on Friday, an inquest heard
The last friends to see missing Jack Barnes (pictured) alive have recalled the teenager’s final moments before he disappeared without a trace into the bushland.
Jack’s family hopes the investigation will finally bring the answers they have spent the last seven years searching for.
‘This is a day we have fought for a long time and we hope to get some answers,’ Ms Goodelz told reporters outside court on Monday.
‘This is an important first step in getting to the truth about what happened to Jack. We hope to bring our son home, whether he lives or not.’
‘We just have to be patient and we’re waiting to see what happens tomorrow and the day after.
Jack would be 25 if he were still alive today.
The inquest before Deputy State Coroner Carmel Forbes is expected to continue until Wednesday.
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