Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Police continue to delve into 11 cold case mysteries spanning more than three decades - Long hunt to catch a killer

Police continue to delve into 11 cold case mysteries spanning more than three decades - Long hunt to catch a killer
It has been more than 30 years since the badly decomposed body of Margaret Mlandos was discovered on the banks of Buckinbah Creek at Yeoval.

How she came to be there remains a mystery police are desperate to solve.

Mrs Mlandos’ murder is one of 11 cold cases being actively pursued by Orana Local Area Command.

The cases are a catalogue of human carnage.

n The body of Kate Page is found in her house at Coonamble, her head caved in by the butt of a rifle.

n Narromine woman Nancy McKenzie is found near dead after being bashed with a golf putter. She died on the way to hospital.

n George Howlett is executed in a North Dubbo home, killed by a gunshot wound to his face.

These are just a sample of the gruesome murders that remain unsolved.

Police are hopeful fragments of information from the public could help solve the brutal homicides, some of which date back to the early 1970s.

Acting crime manager Inspector Mark Meredith said solving these crimes remained a high priority for police, despite how long they had remained unsolved.

“Closure is essential for the families of the victims, and to police officers, who in many cases have spent years involved in painstaking investigations,’’ Insp Meredith said.

“Solving a homicide is like putting a jigsaw together and sometimes essential pieces are missing because important information is withheld from police.

“People don’t come forward for a whole range of reasons - they may be too frightened or ashamed or believe their information is trivial and wouldn’t be of any use to police.

“All information is helpful but sadly sometimes people go to their grave with key material that could have put a killer behind bars.’’

Cold cases from Orana Local Area Command are reviewed by the NSW unsolved homicide unit.

Insp Meredith said murders are never “written off’’ no matter how many years have passed.

He said people are usually killed for three main reasons

- financial gain, revenge or lust.

“Murder is viewed as the most serious of crimes and it is frustrating to see investigations hindered by lack of information.

“I implore people to come forward with what they know. Telling police is the right thing to do.’’

The unsolved murders

n The badly decomposed body of Margaret Mlandos was found in grassland on the banks of Buckinbah Creek at Yeoval in December 1975.

The gruesome discovery was made after an extensive police search.

Mrs Mlandos, aged in her 60s, was well-known in the district as a breeder of Pekinese dogs.

Police believe she died following a “family feud gone wrong”.

n The brutal murder of Kate Page shocked the Coonamble district in the early 1970s.

Aged in her 70s, Mrs Page was found in her house at Page’s Terrace, near Coonamble Bowling Club.

She had been struck about the head with the butt of a rifle.

n Shock waves reverberated throughout the western region in August 1977 when prominent racehorse breeder and trainer Howard Tyrell was shot dead at close range.

Police had two strong suspects but insufficient evidence.

n Mervyn Poyser was bashed at Coonabarabran in December 1987.

Aged in his 50s, Mr Poyser was found lying in the backyard of his home and died in hospital as the result of a skull fracture.

n Elderly Bourke woman Janine Perrin was found dead in her home in November 1990.

Police believe she was brutally assaulted during a sex attack and callously left to die.

n Penny Hill was found unconscious on a roadway near Coolah in July 1991.

Suffering severe head wounds she was rushed to hospital and died two days later.

Penny was employed as a nanny at the Black Stump Motel.

Police interviewed a strong suspect but an open finding was handed down by the coroner.

n The body of Charlie Avouris was found reclining on a blood-flecked sofa at Mumbil in July 1996.

Police said the 30-year-old father of one died a violent death.

n Police are still saddened by the death of Narromine woman Nancy McKenzie who was bashed with a golf putter in June 1997.

Discovered in her home clinging to life, Mrs McKenzie died after being rushed to hospital.

Police interviewed a number of suspects but believe the killing was a case of mistaken identity.

n George Howlett was blasted execution-style when he answered the door of his Fitzroy Street house in North Dubbo in June 2004.

Police believe the shooting was drug related.

n Kristy Scholes was found strangled in the bedroom of a Dubbo house in June 2005.

Police believe the 24-year-old mother of two was killed by her cousin Malcolm Naden.

n Naden is also wanted for the disappearance of Lateesha Nolan who disappeared in January 2005.

Police searched extensively for Ms Nolan.

She is listed as missing, presumed dead.

Police throughout Australia are still looking for Mr Naden.


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