Nicola Sallese (Missing Person)

Date:
November 17, 2008 (Monday)

Location:
Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

Situation:
Missing

Nicola Sallese

Nicola Sallese

Nickname: Unknown
Alternative Name: Unknown

Disappearance

Missing from: Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia
Date Missing: November 17, 2008 (Monday)
Taken By: Unknown

Circumstances:

Mr. Sallese immigrated to Australia from Italy at age 21 in 1946 and successfully built a life in his new country. He was easily recognizable wearing his blue-grey flat cap and with a lingering Italian accent. He was close to his family and loved his wife Jill and two sons (Nick and Jason) dearly. She enjoyed various craftwork and he was a good wood-worker and a career electrician; he would make the bobbins and spinning wheels for her (Link). He was heartbroken when his wife passed away from cancer in 2000. He continued to visit her grave annually until 2008 when early dementia began to set in.

Nicola Sallese and his wife Jill
Mr. Sallese and his Wife Jill (Photo: SBS)

The night before, on Sunday, Mr. Sallese spoke with his son on the phone around 8:45 pm (20:45) whereupon his son Nick made plans to stop by the next day to work on Mr. Sallese’s broken microwave. Mr. Sallese also informed a family friend (Ann Ridgeway) that he expected to be home on Monday working around the house and garden. His home was along Vinegar Hill Road.

Meals on Wheels arrived around 12:30pm on November 17th to drop off his meal but found him gone. Instead, they left at Ridgeway’s home as usual when he wasn’t available. Typically, he would come by later that day and pick up his meal, she found it odd he wasn’t at home. She finally called the house around 2:00pm (14:00) but could not get ahold of him. His son apparently called as well but couldn’t get through.

Nick became worried and stopped by the home that night to check on his father. He found the house closed up and the family dog (Milo) in his kennel. Mr. Sallese had hung clothes out on the line outside (which suggests he didn’t plan to be gone long), but a toiletry bag half-packed and an empty suitcase laid out.

Sometime between 1:00pm and 2:00pm, Mr. Sallese was sighted driving his vehicle east along Main Street towards the Bridle Track / Railton Junction. He was about 500m past the turn-off for Vinegar Hill Rd. (where his home was). It is not clear where he was coming from or where he was going.

Given his difficulties with dementia, there is some possibility he would have found himself heading somewhere unusual or a place he had known in the past. He did frequently visit other locations and had travelled occasionally for work in the past. He was a member of the local Sheffield’s Bowls Club and would travel for meets occasionally; he might have thought it was time for that.

Suggestions have been made that he might head towards any of:

  • Devonport
  • Gowrie Park
  • George Town
  • Launceston
  • Hobart

Another source suggested there was a second possible sighting of him driving west between Penguin and Burnie (Link), but this was later disproven.

A Sydney tourist later reported seeing a man matching Mr. Sallese’s description in Southport at the far coast. The man had stopped the tourist asking for directions to Seven Mile Beach (about 100mi north). This beach is near Hobart where Mr. Sallese’s son Jason was living at the time. Sallese was meant to travel there with Nick’s family on the following Saturday for a birthday at Jason’s, and it is possible that Mr. Sallese simply mixed things up and got lost.

Other places where he had worked in the past include:

  • Poatina
  • King River
  • Anthony
  • Mersey-Forth
  • Lake Cethana
  • Lake Barrington
  • Georgetown
  • Tarraleah
  • Wayatinah
  • Strathgordon
  • Tullah

In 2012, a coroner’s inquest found that Mr. Sallese was likely deceased but found no reason to suspect foul play was involved (Link).

Search for Nicola Sallese
Evidence Considered in the Coroner’s Report

Vehicle

Silver Toyota Camry Sedan with Registration # FH 2973. Vehicle had some damage on the left side and contained a small “brown nodding dog” sitting on the rear shelf of the car.

Similar Make & Model

Key Descriptors

  • Date of Birth: October 10, 1939
  • Age at Disappearance: 69
  • Ethnicity: Caucasian
  • Nationality: Australian
  • Gender at Birth: Male
  • Hair: Grey (Bald on Top)
  • Eye Color: Green / Grey
  • Height: 4’11” (150 cm)
  • Weight: Stocky

Distinguishing Marks or Factors

  • Medical Conditions: High Blood Pressure and Dementia
  • White Mustache
  • Italian Accent

Clothing

  • Blue-Grey flat cap
  • Green Jumper

If You or Anyone You Know Has Information About The Disappearances, Please Contact:

Resources

  • FACEBOOK PAGE – “Help Find Nicola Sallese’ (Link)
  • TWITTER PAGE – “Nicola Sallese’ (Link)
  • Coroner’s Report (Link)
  • ABC.net.au (2012) ‘Man died shortly after disappearance: Coroner’, 29 May. Link.
  • u/ChainsforAlice (2020) Family puts out another appeal in lead-up to Missing Persons Week – Nicola Sallese age 69. Last seen 2008.’, Reddit. Link
  • Kempton, H. (2019) ‘Family puts out another appeal in lead-up to Missing Persons Week’, The Mercury, 31 July. Link
  • Marks, K. (2017) ‘Where are you, Nicola Sallese?’, SBS, 28 August. Link.
  • Powell, M. (2020) ‘Police renew 12 year search for Sheffield’s Nicola Sallese’, Examiner, 27 October. Link.
  • Slade, N. (2018) ‘Sheffield’s Nicola Sallese and his car are still missing after 10 years’, The Advocate, 18 November. Link.

Podcasts:

The Missing – “Where’s Nicola” (Link)

Missing Persons Advocacy Network (Link)

What’s Missing – “Jason for Nicola” (Link)

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