Malcolm John Naden.
Malcolm John Naden. Contributed

Cops hunt for murder suspect

A BUNDABERG dad has spoken of his relief after learning New South Wales police have narrowed in on the man believed to be involved in his daughter's disappearance nearly seven years ago.

Mick Peet received the news after an incident yesterday in dense bushland near Nowendoc, east of Tamworth, where wanted man Malcolm John Naden, now 38, was suspected of shooting a police officer in the shoulder.

Mr Peet's daughter, Lateesha Nolan was last seen in Dubbo in 2005 and Naden, her cousin, has been on the run ever since.

"I am so relieved," he said.

Less than 24 hours before the northern NSW manhunt, Mr Peet had been up until 2am yesterday, sending out messages to his thousands of contacts, pleading with them for information about his daughter's disappearance.

"I sent 5800 messages out to see if anyone had any information about the whereabouts of Malcolm Naden," he said.

"And then, all of a sudden, this happened yesterday."

A NSW Police spokeswoman said recent inquiries had revealed Naden could have been camping in the bushland.

When officers closed in on the campsite at 7am, a shot was fired, injuring an officer.

Mr Peet said Naden was believed to have been living in the roof of a building before moving into the bush.

"He can hide in the building for six months - imagine how well he could hide in the scrub," he said.

The devoted dad is hoping this latest development will bring him the closure he has been waiting for, for the past seven years.

"I don't want (Naden) injured," Mr Peet said.

"I want him to be able to tell me what happened to Lateesha.

"Lateesha had four kids of her own and they really want to know what happened to their mum."

Mr Peet believes Naden will not be caught unless members of the Australian Army are called in.

"I always wanted the army to get involved - this is the only way to catch this fella," he said.

Naden has a $100,000 reward for his capture, with warrants out for his arrest for the murder of 24-year-old Kristy Scholes, and an aggravated indecent assault of a 15-year-old girl.

Mr Peet fears his daughter has suffered the same fate as Ms Scholes.

"When they found Kristy, I just knew straight away that Lateesha was gone as well," he said.

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