CONVICTED murderer Adam Bowhay had just been denied parole when he fled a NSW prison work site on Tuesday, police have confirmed.
The 34-year-old, who is serving a 23-year sentence for the murder of Northern Rivers man Steven Jarvis, has not been seen since escaped custody at Cooma, in the state's south.
Detective Inspector Shane Box said on Wednesday that in the absence of any other intelligence, police were focussing their search on the Cooma area.
He said Bowhay "may well have left" but until police suspected he had moved on, they needed to conduct a thorough local search.
In early 1997, Bowhay and his teenage girlfriend broke into several Macksville businesses, stole knives and camped out at Nambucca Heads.
After peddling crushed Panadol to drug dealers at Byron Bay and stealing a car, they crossed the border to Queensland before returning to the Northern Rivers to stay with friends.
They met and had drinks with Mr Jarvis at a Casino Hotel but when the three walked to a nearby park, an argument broke out and Mr Jarvis was stabbed to death.
His body was found by a couple walking their dog the following morning.
The young couple were arrested when they car they had stolen from Grafton broke down in Victoria.
During his trial, the court heard he had used one of the knives he had stolen from Macksville to stab Mr Jarvis in the neck.
He claimed Mr Jarvis had touched and spoken to his girlfriend inappropriately.
Bowhay was sentenced to 23 years behind bars and this month was eligible to apply for parole.
A Corrective Services spokesperson told News.com the Serious Offenders Review Council had recommended Bowhay participate in "more approved external leave before being considered for parole.
Anyone who sees Bowhay should phone 000.