The baffling case of a missing Irish laborer in the rural town of Larrimah in Australia's rugged outback is being treated as a homicide.
Paddy Moriarty, who emigrated from Ireland to Australia in the 1960s, seems to have disappeared without a trace - in a town of only 11 inhabitants
The 70-year-old Irishman attended the Pink Panther bar after work in December 2017, the only bar in the small village of Larrimah. According to eye witnesses, Moriarty drank eight beers before setting off home with his kelpie, Kellie.
Moriarty was never seen or heard from again. Police in the Northern Territory town checked his home, finding his cowboy hat and a chicken still in the microwave, and immediately called foul play. In recent months, the case has gripped the imagination of Australians, as everyone of the town's few inhabitants has been labeled a suspect.
There are all kinds of rumors about Paddy Moriarty’s disappearance from a rural Australian town. Was he really fed to a pet crocodile? Could he actually have been baked into a meat pie? https://t.co/zXYir5YQPd— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 11, 2018
According to the New York Times, a former Pink Panther bartender and a gardener with whom Moriarty has fought with are the major suspects. The paper outlines that police have also questioned the owner of Fran's Devonshire Tea House.
Reporter Jacqueline Williams describes the dusty town as "about the size of a city block and surrounded by head-high, impenetrable thick scrub."
She noted that the main road through the town "has long been notorious for murders and mysterious disappearances, including a British backpacker who vanished 17 years ago."
On Friday night @abcnews 730 team won a Kennedy Award for coverage of the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty. He is still missing feared dead. There’s much more on the story in this extraordinary podcast from Kylie Stevenson and @Caro_e_graham https://t.co/u7rteSVWmd— Anna Henderson (@annajhenderson) August 11, 2018
Owner of the Pink Panther hotel, Barry Sharpe, said he misses his "best friend" who used to stop by "almost everyday".
Sharpe (76) is noted as keeping rare and exotic animals such as snakes, birds, and a huge crocodile named Sam - whom some suspect as being a part of this murder mystery.
Sharpe said he was first alarmed when Moriarty did not show up for "church". By "church", he means an informal gathering of the town's residents to watch a rural affairs tv program named "Landline" every Sunday.
When Paddy Moriarty went missing, every person in his small, Australian outback town has become a suspect -- all 11 of them. I need a few true-crime podcasts, one @shondarhimes show, and someone please write this into a book. https://t.co/WJUlIQogk8— Samantha Dean (@_SamanthaDean) August 13, 2018
Police ruled out death by misadventure, as no signs of Moriarty or his dog have been uncovered.
According to ABC, some members of a Limerick-based Moriarty family have come forward claiming links to Paddy. An Garda Siochana are reportedly trying to find out more about Moriarty's roots.
Patrick (Paddy) Moriarty, long term resident of Larrimah, NT was last seen on 16 December 2017 when he left his house on his quad bike with his best girl – his Kelpie ‘Kellie’. https://t.co/mEmljRWU3d #NMPW2018 @ntpfes pic.twitter.com/WMQtPu8Yie— AFP (@AusFedPolice) August 9, 2018