Grieving family in limbo waiting for Coroner's death verdict
PHYLLIS Endres, the mother of missing fisherman Mick Endres, says her family faces a distressing wait to find out whether the State Coroner will officially declare their son's accidental death.
She also revealed that the South Lismore family is in financial limbo with Mr Endres's bills still arriving and insurance companies unable to pay out.
"If it was a straightforward accidental death it would be easier, but the Coroner needs to decide whether this can be called an accidental death," Mrs Endres said.
"There's too much red tape, but it's just a matter that's law.
"It's going to be hard if it goes on for a long time."
A spokesperson for the Coroners Court said: "Police are preparing a brief of evidence for the coroner which is expected to be completed in late October.
"The coroner would not consider holding an inquest until the brief has been received and reviewed."
It is understood police will conduct periodic checks on Mr Endres's bank and other personal accounts to ensure they are no longer in use.
For now, Mrs Endres is focused on her son's upcoming remembrance service, as she deals with a steady flow of phone calls offering condolences.
"Mick was very, very popular," she said. "He knew a lot of people. I didn't really know he was so well known.
"The fishermen have been really great, they've done so much."
Mrs Endres broke the sad news to the South Lismore fisherman's adult sons, Dean and Brett, by phone and the pair was distraught to learn of their dad's fate.
"They're devastated. We're all devastated," she said.
"He had a kind and generous heart and we all loved him so much.
"We always knew this happening would be a strong possibility, but never expected it."
She said arrangements were underway "...to say goodbye to Mick" at a remembrance service at the Evans Head Fishermen's Co-op on Saturday.
Mrs Endres offered her heartfelt thanks to everyone who pitched in to help the family following her son's disappearance.
OPINION: Bureaucracy lacks compassion
THE web of red tape entangling the family of fisherman Mick Endres would be comical if it weren't so tragic.
Mr Endres disappeared about a week and a half ago while fishing in his boat, Julie, off the coast of Evans Head.
An extensive search eventually turned up the empty boat, but there was no sign of Mr Endres.
Damage to an outboard motor on the boat was consistent with someone trying to pull themselves onboard the 7m aluminium runabout, suggesting Mr Endres might have fallen overboard, possibly while setting a spanner crab trap.
As far as evidence goes, it's pretty vague stuff, but what is absolutely clear is Mr Endres was not on the boat when it was found, hadn't been heard from for about 30 hours before the search for him began and hasn't been seen since.
There's not much basis for hope - something Mr Endres' family has already accepted.
Despite this, the family is forced to live with the bureaucratic fiction that there son still lives. This is because, in the absence of a body, the coroner needs to make a ruling - presumably of accidental death - and that remains about a month away.
Until then, Mr Endres' family cannot access insurance payouts and must continue paying their lost son's bills.
It's an exercise that can only compound the family's trauma.
Bureaucracy is a tool of society created through a hodgepodge of laws and customs.
It is intended to reflect the values of our society and serve them, but it is only as compassionate as we make it.
In this case, it's clear we've not made it compassionate enough.
- Alex Easton