UPDATE: Victoria Police have confirmed they are no longer searching for Bridget Flack following the discovery of a body in Melbourne’s inner east.
Bridget Flack was days from receiving access to a mental health facility before she went missing, her sister said.
The search for Flack, spearheaded by the LGBTQI community, continued on Friday after she was last seen in the inner-north suburb of Collingwood around 10 am on Monday, November 30.
The 28-year-old, who works as a unionist full-time and DJ on the side, had struggled during the COVID-19 lockdown, and three weeks prior to her disappearance, she told her sister Angela Pucci Love that she was trying to organise extra support at an appropriate facility.
“She decided that she wanted residential care, but was concerned about finding the right place that was trans-friendly and had a few places on her list which we were trying to get her a bed at,” Love told HuffPost Australia in Melbourne.
After completing initial triages at two facilities, Flack waited for a space to open up. A bed became available last Wednesday, but by then, Flack had already been missing for two days.
“Bridget had a hard year, like many of us, but it was particularly hard on her because she is so close to her community and her friends at work, and not having that around her made life more difficult,” Love said, referring to Melbourne’s strict four-month lockdown in response to a second wave of the coronavirus in Victoria.
The two sisters spoke every day up until the night before Flack went missing. Love said she had no reason to suspect her sister would disappear less than 24 hours later. After not hearing from her by Tuesday, Love became alarmed.
Love said her sister had a great sense of awareness when it came to the support she needed and was not only committed to receiving inpatient treatment but was looking forward to it. Flack had told the venue manager at the club where she DJs, “I’m going to be away for a few weeks, I’m close to getting a bed,” Love said.
Flack’s last known contact was a work friend she spoke to on social media at 2 pm on November 30 in a message that mentioned she was “by the freeway” in the suburb of Kew. Police say her phone was still in the Kew area two days later, which is the last time it pinged a satellite tower. No one has reported receiving any additional calls or messages from her.
Victoria Police conducted aerial and water searches on Friday with helicopters and drones that have infrared technology used to locate missing persons in abandoned buildings or dense bushland.
Earlier this week, more than 100 people, many of whom had never met Flack and many from the LGBTQI community, came together to provide their support and assist with a search party.
The Facebook page Have you seen Bridget? had reached more than 6,000 followers by the time this article was published, and a Go Fund Me page to assist with costs of the search has already reached its goal of $5,000. Leftover funds will be donated to a trans mental health or housing service.
Flack is someone who is deeply loved, adored and respected by her family and friends, Love said, adding that her disappearance is “incredibly uncharacteristic”.
Love wanted to highlight the gratitude she felt for the LGBTQI and broader community, she told HuffPost, for being proactive and for reporting information to help bring her sister home. She urged potential witnesses to come forward to the police with any information.
“We are so fortunate that we have all of this community support because it would be a lot harder doing this alone,” she said.
“We know we are not alone which is really, really lovely.”
Victoria Police said there is nothing to suggest foul play. However, they are investigating all potential circumstances and nothing is currently being ruled out.
Flack is approximately 170cm tall, with a slim build and shoulder-length brown hair.
CCTV captured her wearing a bright pink shirt and dark coloured shorts on the day she disappeared. She has a number of distinctive tattoos, which are mostly visible on her arms.
Flack’s family and friends are seeking public assistance and urging anyone to come forward with information that might help assist in reuniting her safely back with her family and friends, and to contact the Police 000 or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.
If you need mental health support you can contact QLife 3PM-midnight on 1800 184 527 or Lifeline 24 hours on 13 11 14.