Family of deceased Port Lincoln man seeking justice

SORROW: Kira, Robin and Christie Johnson look through photos of Daniel Johnson, still feeling the effects of his death in August. Photo: Jarrad Delaney
SORROW: Kira, Robin and Christie Johnson look through photos of Daniel Johnson, still feeling the effects of his death in August. Photo: Jarrad Delaney

The family of a man who died after being found semi-conscious on a Port Lincoln oval earlier this year is calling on a new police task force to investigate his death, which they believe involved foul play.

Police said the man was found lying at the southern end of Ravendale Oval about 7.45am on August 9. He was taken to Port Lincoln Hospital, but died later that morning.

The family of the man, identified as Daniel Johnson, 29, have been devastated by his death and think his involvement in the drug scene in Adelaide led to his death.

Daniel's father Robin Johnson said the family fully believed his son's death had been set up to appear as a suicide as circumstances leading up to his death did not add up, as he was getting his life together and was going to start a new job the day he died.

He said what appeared to be a suicide note was left in their letterbox that morning, but details with the letter did not add up, such as him misspelling his sister's name and there was no mention of another brother who was not known in the local community.

"Two days before Daniel died, we had seen him on a Friday morning and he was so happy that he was starting work on Monday morning at a new job," he said.

"We believe the four hours that the detectives can't account for where he was between four o'clock and eight o'clock in the morning when he was found, we believe he was being held to write this note and then he was injected with fentanyl through a fentanyl patch that was apparently stripped of its morphine."

Mr Johnson said the family were sure they knew who were responsible for his son's death and that they allegedly had been involved in drug dealing.

Daniel Johnson died in August after he was found semi-conscious on Ravendale Oval. Photo courtesy of the Johnson family.

Daniel Johnson died in August after he was found semi-conscious on Ravendale Oval. Photo courtesy of the Johnson family.

He said his son had been involved with drugs over an eight year period and had built up a debt which had put his life in danger, even receiving death threats on his phone.

"I remember one time he was asking me 'Dad, I need $10,000 or they are going to kill me', and I didn't have $10,000 so I believe my son set himself up to go into jail because he felt safer in jail," he said.

"People who had tried to do in my son in Adelaide had contacted Daniel down here in Port Lincoln and my son fully believed that he was going to be killed.

"I never knew my son was on 'ice'. If I knew, I would have tried to help him ... the drugs destroyed my son."

Police announced on December 1 that Major Crime Investigation Branch investigators had initiated the formation of Task Force Southern to investigate a number of unsolved murders in the southern area of Adelaide.

The Task Force is made up of 42 personnel including investigators and intelligence officers led by Detective Superintendent Des Bray who stated, "Task Force Southern is one of the largest task forces of its type assembled by SAPOL using a handpicked team of experienced detectives, intelligence officers and forensic scientists."

Daniel's sister Kira Johnson said the drug scene in Adelaide extended past Adelaide's borders into communities across South Australia, including into Port Lincoln, and unfortunately her brother became entangled in it.

"I believe the drug scene everywhere is all linked," she said.

"I believe it is not just the southern suburbs, I think the task force need to investigate along to different towns. There has been lots of people disappearing.

"We just want the police to do their job, make sure they are doing it and they are going to get answers."

Mr Johnson said the family had seen on the news that the task force had been set up to investigate supposed suicides and murders in Adelaide.

The family is calling for the new task force to look at Daniel's death and to help bring the people allegedly involved to justice.

"I feel like if I am not doing anything every day that I am not doing justice by my son," Mr Johnson said.

"All the family need justice because we just can't let Daniel just be written off as a suicide when we fully believe ... he didn't kill himself."

A police spokesperson said "Port Lincoln CIB continue to investigate this matter on behalf of the Coroner, but have liaised with detectives involved with Task Force Southern for consideration."

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This story Family seeking justice for Daniel first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.