The NSW Government has today announced a $1 million reward for information over the homicide of German backpacker Simone Strobel, on the Far North Coast 15 years ago.
Simone, aged 25, was last seen at the Lismore Tourist Caravan Park on Friday 11 February 2005, after a night out with her then-boyfriend and friends.
Her body was found six days later (Thursday 17 February 2005), concealed under palm fronds at a sportsground less than 100m from the caravan park.
At a coronial inquest in 2007, then-State Coroner, Paul McMahon, ruled there was insufficient evidence to lay charges over Simone's death.
Detectives from Richmond Police District established Strike Force Howea in February 2005 to investigate Simone’s murder – with assistance from their counterparts at the State Crime Command, the Wuerzburg Criminal Police and the Prosecutor´s Office in Wuerzburg.
No one has ever been charged over her death.
Today, the NSW Government has announced a $1 million reward for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Simone’s homicide.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said this is a substantial incentive for anyone who comes forward with information about the German school teacher’s death.
“For 15 years, Police have been determined to uncover the truth of what happened to Simone, both the Lismore community and her loved ones in Germany deserve answers,” Mr Elliott said.
“We are committed to providing police with the resources they need to solve cold cases and deliver justice for victims and their families. I would remind the community that any seemingly small piece of information could make a huge difference in this case.”
Richmond Police District Commander, Superintendent Scott Tanner, said police believe there are people here in Australia and overseas in Simone’s home country who are withholding vital information.
“We know the truth is out there, and we know there are people who are holding it back.
“Strike force detectives have worked for more than a decade, trying to piece together Simone’s last movements and who was there in her final moments.
“A million dollars is a significant reward being offered by the NSW Government to help us solve this homicide – the reward is open to any person or resident, including both Australian and German residents.
“We have continued to examine evidence and speak with witnesses over the past 15 years, but we need additional help from the public to finally determine what happened to Simone.
“This is a crime which has stuck with many families who have young relatives travelling the world, the thought of losing them so far away from home is hard to comprehend. Help us to put Simone’s family at ease,” Supt Tanner said.
In 2014, officers from and the Bavarian Office of Criminal Investigation announced a reward of 10,000 Euros for residents of both Germany and Australia who provide information that leads to an arrest and conviction – that reward remains current.
As investigations into Strike Force Howea continue, anyone who may have information about Simone’s disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.