Strange phone call that led to discovery of son's death

·3-min read

The heartbroken father of Jackson Stacker, whose body was found near a highway rest stop on the NSW north coast, is searching for clues about what happened in the final hours of his eldest son’s life.

Ian Stacker recalled his last phone call with Jackson, 25, who told him he was going to spend some time “off-grid” after being locked down in the Byron Shire while living in his van.

“Which isn’t unusual for him,” he explained to Yahoo News.

“It wasn’t until someone called about buying the camper van that we were alerted something must be wrong.”

A photo of Jackson Stacker at the beach. Source: Supplied
Ian Stacker said Jackson told him he was going to spend some time “off-grid”. Source: Supplied

His van was found abandoned at the Sleepy Hollow rest area at Pottsville on August 25 — the same spot he was last seen alive a month earlier.

His remains were later discovered in a nearby paddock.

"My heart is broken," Ian posted to Facebook at the time. 

"Jackson saw the world differently to most, but his heart and soul were full of love and I will forever keep his spirit in my heart," the post continued. 

I will miss him for the rest of my life."

A map of the Sleepy Hollows rest area. Source: Supplied
Jackson Stacker’s body was found near a highway rest area in northern NSW. Source: Facebook

The Stacker family’s search for answers

Officers from the Tweed-Byron police district are compiling a comprehensive brief of evidence on behalf of the coroner.

The Stacker family in Melbourne have been told his cause of death is still unknown. 

“Jackson, from what the police have been able to ascertain, likely passed away on July 22 and wasn't found until August 25 once we put out a missing person’s request,” Ian said.

“Because he had been in the elements for so long, forensics haven’t been able to determine a cause of death.”

A photo of Jackson Stacker's van that his parents gave him last Christmas. Source: Supplied
Jackson Stacker had been travelling and living in his van that his parents gave him last Christmas. Source: Supplied

Ian is now trying to piece together what happened on that fateful day of July 22.

“Right now there is no way of knowing,” he said.

”We’re trying to find out if anyone saw him at the road stop. Hopefully we can find someone who saw him on that day and it might help open up other lines of communication.

“If it wasn’t self inflicted, then we need to be able to get some justice if we can find some evidence that someone was involved.”

Ian has appealed for information on social media.

“Any information you may have could help us solve the mystery of what happened to our son,” he wrote on Facebook earlier this week. 

So far, he hasn’t received any useful tip-offs.

“I know it’s a bit of a long shot what I’m asking for,” he admitted.

A photo of Ian and Jackson Stacker. Source: Supplied
Ian has asked anyone who may have seen Jackson or spoken with him to come forward. Source: Supplied

Last words from Jackson Stacker to family

Ian last spoke to his son on July 15 or 16 after having his prostate removed.

“I rang him to let him know it went well. I asked him how he was going and he said he was well and happy. He sounded okay.”

Ian, who remembers his son as “friendly” and “someone who would talk to anybody”, said it was later revealed Jackson had been struggling with his mental health.

“Sounds like he was pretty sad when he spoke to people around him but that doesn’t make you suicidal,” he said.

“Who knows what happened in those few days. Fundamentally what I’m trying to put time into is whether anyone saw him on July 22 and whether he was alone, or with somebody.

“The whole thing is hard anyway but no matter what the answer is that will be hard as well.”

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