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Marc Christian Mietus disappearance: Family’s desperate pleas as reward is doubled to $500,000 to help find out what happened to man who disappeared after picking up a hitchhiker

A $500,000 reward has been announced to help a family find answers to why their son disappeared without a trace 24 years ago.

Marc Christian Mietus was last seen at a property in Booyal near Bundaberg in central Queensland early on Australia Day in 2000.

Nearly three weeks earlier, on January 6, the then 21-year-old moved from Melbourne and picked up a hitchhiker in his white ute at a truck stop in Gilgandra in western NSW on his way to Queensland.

Mr Mietus drove the hitchhiker to the man’s 44-hectare estate in the Wide Bay area.

The two men arrived at the property the next day and Mr Mietus moved into a caravan on the property, where a number of other people were staying in vans and makeshift houses at the time.

Mr Mietus spent the next 19 days traveling between Booyal and Brisbane before disappearing, never to be seen again.

Marc Christian Mietus (pictured) went missing on Australia Day in 2000 and was last seen by friends at a property in Booyal in south-east Queensland

The building in Booyal where Marc was last seen on Australia Day 2000

The building in Booyal where Marc was last seen on Australia Day 2000

His heartbroken family launched a desperate public appeal for answers an emotional Brisbane police press conference on Friday,

Kris Mietus called on anyone with information about his missing son to come forward.

“Twenty-four years of not knowing is a very emotional piece for the family,” he said.

“There has to be someone who knows something about this case, someone who knows what happened to my son.”

“We would like the people who respond to be brought to justice. We know we will never get him back, but we hope this will provide new information and bring closure to our family.”

Police have offered a $500,000 reward for information in connection with Mr Mietus’ suspected murder.

The reward offered by police is double the amount first offered in 2015.

Queensland Police Cold Case officers believe there are people who have information about Mr Mietus’ disappearance.

“We are appealing to anyone who saw or knew anyone in the Booyal Childers area in 2000 who owned or drove a Brown XD Ford sedan with a dull alloy bull bar and standard wheels to come forward,” Detective Senior Sergeant said Tara Kentwell.

Mr. Mietus was headed to the Sunshine State to get his life back on track.

At an emotional press conference in Brisbane on Friday, Kris Mietus (pictured left) urged anyone with information about his missing son to come forward.

At an emotional press conference in Brisbane on Friday, Kris Mietus (pictured left) urged anyone with information about his missing son to come forward.

Mr Mietus moved from Melbourne to Queensland in a white 1985 Ford Falcon ute (pictured), picking up a hitchhiker along the way in western NSW

Mr Mietus moved from Melbourne to Queensland in a white 1985 Ford Falcon ute (pictured), picking up a hitchhiker along the way in western NSW

A few years earlier, the promising young Aussie Rules footballer struggled to come to terms with being kicked out of an AFL feeder club and began going down the wrong path, involving drugs and mingling with the wrong crowd.

On the morning of January 18, 2000, he drove into a service station on the Bruce Highway near Gympie to get petrol.

Unable to pay, he said he told staff he was going to Hervey Bay and would come back to make the payment.

He left behind his mobile phone, Victorian driver’s license and his father’s contact details as security.

Sergeant Kentwell said a witness at the time recalled a person sitting in the passenger seat of the ute not leaving the vehicle.

The witness described the approximately 30-year-old man with shoulder-length dark hair.

Police have doubled the reward to $500,000 for information related to the suspected murder of Marc Mietus

Police have doubled the reward to $500,000 for information related to the suspected murder of Marc Mietus

Mr. Mietus (left) was heading to the Sunshine State in his final days to get his life on track

Mr. Mietus (left) was heading to the Sunshine State in his final days to get his life on track

Later that same day, Mr Mietus traded his vehicle in on a red and white 1987 Honda XL 250 trail motorcycle with Queensland registration ST 333.

Eight days later, on January 26, Mr Mietus went to a friend’s house in Brisbane, where he packed his belongings and headed to Booyal on his motorcycle.

On his way to the property he was stopped by police at 2.45am south of Gympie, before arriving at Boyal’s estate at 6.30am.

The owner asked Mr. Mietus to pay his rent, to which Mr. Mietus replied that he should ask his friend for the money.

He was described as aloof and that his speech was incoherent

Mr Mietus rode his motorcycle to a nearby roadhouse, where he made three phone calls to a person in Brisbane before returning to Booyal’s estate.

He told others on the property that his friend would pick him up and return to his trailer. This was the last confirmed sighting of Mr. Mietus.

Mr Mietus traded his car for a red and white 1987 Honda XL 250 trail motorcycle eight days before he disappeared

Mr Mietus traded his car for a red and white 1987 Honda XL 250 trail motorcycle eight days before he disappeared

Sergeant Kentwell said another witness told police he saw a tan XD model Ford Sedan leaving Booyal’s property.

The witness said Mr. Mietus could have been in the vehicle.

The sedan had an aluminum full-bar and standard wheels and was traveling towards the Booyal Roadhouse around January 26, 2000.

Police did not find the vehicle and the passengers in the sedan were never identified.

More than 200 police investigations have been carried out into Mr Mietus’ disappearance and 104 statements have been taken.

Officers will search Booyal’s property this weekend.

A tan XD model Ford Sedan was seen leaving Booyal's property on the day Marc disappeared

A tan XD model Ford Sedan was seen leaving Booyal’s property on the day Marc disappeared