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By MELISSA FYFE in Childers
Police 'ignored' wanted man sightings
The woman, who declined to be named, said Mr Long had left town owing the hostel money and police had recently interviewed the owners about him.
When Mr Long returned to Childers, the hostel worker spotted him on Wednesday and called the hostel, she said. "I saw him in the shop, but when he saw me, he panicked and ran out."
The woman said the hostel owners, John Dobe and Christian Atkinson, phoned police a couple of times that night.
"The police said they weren't working tonight and they'd deal with it in the morning," she said.
"I'm really cranky about that. If it does turn out that he did it, I think the police should be questioned as to why they didn't do their job that night ... Maybe all these people wouldn't have died."
A British backpacker staying at Palace Backpackers, Mr Tony Gora, also questioned why the police had failed to act. "People had been sighting him around town and ringing police and saying, 'he's still here' and the police were like, 'oh well we might do something about it tommorrow'."
Queensland police superintendent Ken Benjamin said he didn't know the full facts and could not comment on whether police ignored sightings of Mr Long.
"There could be very good reasons why things happened. It depends on the whole facts of the situation, what was happening there, could it wait until morning. But we've got a big terrible running sheet at the moment and we could have a look at it."
Although many locals believe Mr Long was kicked out of the hostel, the woman confirmed that he was not evicted. "He was on compo and the owners felt sorry for him."