Reward of $100,000 offered to solve double disappearance and suspected murder

Kay Docherty Toni Cavanagh
Kay Docherty Toni Cavanagh

Minister for Police Michael Daley today announced that a $100,000 NSW Government reward would be offered to help Police solve the disappearance and presumed murders of Kay Docherty and Toni Cavanagh.

Mr Daley said Kay, 16, and Toni, 15, went missing from Warilla, a southern coastal suburb of Wollongong, three decades ago.

"On the 27th July 1979, Kay told her parents she was staying at Toni's house and Toni told her family they were going to the movies with Kay's Aunt and Uncle," he said.

"It's believed the girls were on their way to the Wollongong CBD to attend a disco, but it's not known whether they ever made it.

"Both girls were reported missing to the Lake Illawarra Local Area Command on Sunday 29th July.

"The following week, Toni and Kay's families received separate letters from the pair posted from the Kings Cross area, saying they were staying with friends and would be home soon.

"There have been no confirmed sightings of the girls since they were seen at the bus stop at dusk on the evening of Friday 27th, although there was an unconfirmed sighting in Queensland in 1984.

"Strike Force Mundawari has been formed to investigate the pair's disappearance and detectives are interested in any information which will lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Toni and Kay's disappearance and suspected murder.

"Their families have spent the last 30 years wondering what happened to their daughters, and they deserve closure.

"I hope that the lure of a cash reward may encourage those with information, who may have been reluctant to come forward at the time, to help Police bring those responsible to justice.

"It may not seem like much but if anybody has any piece of information, however small, it could prove to be the vital link police need to find out what happened," Mr Daley said.

Detective Chief Inspector Michael McLean said detectives have recently travelled to South Eastern Queensland and interviewed witnesses in the Brisbane and Gold Coast areas.

"It has become apparent through inquiries that a high percentage of those who lived in the Illawarra and knew of the girls at the time they disappeared, have relocated to that area," Mr McLean said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Darren Kelly said Strike Force Mundawari detectives are grateful for the support of the NSW Government in progressing this case.

"This reward is a great opportunity to finally discover what happened to these young girls," he said.

Mr Daley said that any information will be treated as strictly confidential and may be given at any time of the day or night.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Click here for more information on Kay Docherty on the NSW Police Force Missing Persons Enquiry System.

Click here for more information on Toni Cavanagh on the NSW Police Force Missing Persons Enquiry System.


Do you have information that can help police with this case?

Any information you have about this is worth giving to police, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

You can provide information to police via any of the methods below:

Any information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Your help may give police the clue they need to close this case and provide some comfort for the families of victims.

How to claim your reward

  1. Contact Crime Stoppers or your local Police Station.
  2. Identify yourself and indicate you have information about a crime and that you wish to claim a reward.
  3. You will then be put in contact with a police officer involved in the investigation of that case.