The NSW Government, together with the NSW Police Force, has announced a $500,000 reward for information into the suspicious disappearance of Western Sydney teenager, Lynette Melbin.
Lynette Melbin, aged 15, was last seen at her mother’s workplace – a supermarket on High Street at Penrith – on Monday 5 June 1972.
Police have been told Lynette arranged with her mum to be collected from her boyfriend’s house at Penrith later that day; however, did not attended his premises and has not been seen since that time.
In a Coronial Inquest into Lynette’s disappearance in 2001, then Deputy State Coroner, Janet Stevenson, found that she had most likely died as a result of undetermined causes, on or about 5 June 1972.
Inquiries by detectives from Nepean Police Area Command continued under Strike Force Willmott, before the matter underwent a review in 2012 and was subsequently referred to the Unsolved Homicide Unit, who have been re-examining the circumstances of Lynette’s disappearance.
To assist ongoing investigations, the NSW Government and the NSW Police Force have announced a reward of $500,000 for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of any person or persons responsible for Lynette’s disappearance.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole said it was critical that anyone with information reach out to police to help provide closure to her loved ones.
“When a person goes missing, it has a long-lasting ripple effect on their family and friends, on their community, and on police who are doing their best to get some answers,” Mr Toole said.
“Police are committed to providing closure to her family and those who knew her, and I hope this reward encourages those who might know something to come forward.”
The Unsolved Homicide Unit’s Detective Chief Inspector David Laidlaw said police suspect there are locals in the Nepean community with useful information concerning Lynette who are yet to come forward.
“As part of this renewed appeal we’re asking any associates of the Melbin family and those who were close to Lynette in the 70s to contact police,” Det Ch Insp Laidlaw said.
“We believe Lynette was seen speaking with two males inside a panel van near her house on Caloola Avenue, Penrith – formally Kingswood Park – on the day she disappeared.
“We wish to speak with anyone who resided in Caloola Avenue during that time and those who may be able to help us identify those men.
“We also believe a male who worked either in a bakery or doing bread deliveries and was known to Lynette may have assisted police initially, and urge him to come forward,” Det Ch Insp Laidlaw said.
Lynette’s sister, Liana Stewart, said their family’s life changed forever the day she disappeared.
“The grief has been unimaginable – it never goes away – and the hole in our hearts can never be repaired,” Ms Stewart said.
“We know Lynette met with something sinister and is never coming back and the best we can hope for is someone who knows something will come forward so we can finally know what happened.
“It’s too late for Mum, who we lost two years ago, but we pray we get the answers, particularly for our 86-year-old Dad.
“If anybody knows anything no matter how small, please come forward, we will be forever grateful,” Ms Stewart said.
Anyone with information relevant to Strike Force Willmott 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 information via NSW Police social media pages.