An American mathematician's death in Australia was originally ruled a suicide 3 decades ago. After three inquests, a New South Wales State Coroner has ruled that Michael Scott Johnson's death-fall from Sydney's North Head was actually the result of a hate crime.
Initially, Johnson was believed to have made the 200 foot jump to his death. His nude body was found at Bluefish Point, a popular meeting spot for homosexuals at the time. The NSW coroner feels it is very unlikely that Scott took his own life.
Johnson was a Los Angeles native and Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at the Australian National University at the time he received "unsurvivable traumatic injuries" according to the coroner. Likely more than one person was involved in the attack. The coroner feels Johnson was either pushed off the cliff or fell off while trying to escape. Johnson's clothes were found neatly folded and undamaged near the cliff's edge, a sign that he could have disrobed before the encounter with his possible attackers.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The death of a man in NSW, previously believed to be a suicide, has been found to be the result of a gay hate attack. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/9News?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#9News</a> <a href="https://t.co/iogRgnXDWI">https://t.co/iogRgnXDWI</a></p>— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) <a href="https://twitter.com/9NewsAUS/status/936061202932912133?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 30, 2017</a></blockquote>
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The new inquiry follows a 2005 review of multiple deaths of young gay men in the 80s who were found pushed from sea cliffs. Evidently, there are some 500 suspicious deaths still awaiting investigation. Johnson's brother feels the killers are quite possibly still alive. At the moment, the NSW State Police are offering a $75,000 reward for information regarding Johnson's case.
Acting Superintendent Chris Olen stressed the importance of new information, "With a lack of witnesses and physical evidence, this is a very challenging case. What we need is fresh information to help us solve this case and bring some closure to the Johnson family."