The NSW Government, in collaboration with the NSW Police Force, has declared that the reward for information pertaining to the mysterious disappearance of Marion Barter in 1997 has been increased to $500,000.
Marion Barter, aged 51, was last seen at a bus terminus on Scarborough Street, near Railway Street, in Southport, Queensland, on Sunday, 22nd June 1997.
In the weeks leading up to her vanishing, a relative observed Marion departing from a fuel station on Ferry Road, Southport, in a crimson Honda Civic Breeze, accompanied by a tall male passenger.
Investigations at that time revealed that on Sunday, 22nd June 1997, Marion departed from Australia to the United Kingdom, under the name Florabella Natalia Marion Remakel, a name she had legally changed a month before leaving the nation.
According to her outgoing passenger card, she stated her marital status as divorced and expressed her intention to take up residence in Luxembourg.
On Saturday, 2nd August 1997, it is believed that Marion may have returned to Australia under the alias Florabella Remakel. Her incoming passenger card indicated that she was married and living in Luxembourg.
Further inquiries revealed that after her disappearance, an unidentified individual appears to have gained access to Marion’s bank account.
In October 1997, family members notified the authorities in Byron Bay about Ms. Barter’s absence, leading detectives from the Tweed-Byron Local Area Command to initiate an investigation into her whereabouts.
As part of their inquiries, investigators pursued numerous leads both within Australia and overseas concerning Marion’s disappearance.
In July 2019, an official review of the case was conducted by the Tweed-Byron Police District, the Homicide Squad of the State Crime Command, and the NSW Department of Communities and Justice.
Consequently, the Homicide Squad’s Unsolved Homicide Unit established Strike Force Jurunga, collaborating with local officers and the State Crime Command’s Missing Persons Registry, to reinvestigate the circumstances surrounding Marion’s disappearance.
A judicial inquiry, presided over by the NSW State Coroner, commenced in Sydney on Monday, 21st June 2021, and will continue in Byron Bay throughout this week.
Today, the police have announced that a reward of $500,000 will be bestowed upon anyone providing information leading to the apprehension and conviction of individuals responsible for Marion’s suspicious vanishing.
Detective Inspector Nigel Warren, from the Homicide Squad, expressed a welcoming attitude towards any novel information regarding Ms. Barter’s disappearance.
“While we remain cognizant of the ongoing coronial proceedings, we also hope that this reward might serve as an incentive for the emergence of fresh information pertaining to Marion’s vanishing,” Det Insp Warren stated.
Marion’s daughter, Sally Leydon, never ceased her pursuit for answers and urged anyone possessing information to step forward.
“The conduct exhibited by my mother before departing Australia was completely uncharacteristic, and we are aware that she was seen within the Southport area in the company of an unknown gentleman,” Ms. Leydon conveyed.
“She even missed my brother’s birthday, an action I know she would never have taken, and her bank account gradually depleted after her disappearance.
“I firmly believe that these perplexing circumstances were indicative of some untoward occurrences in her life, and to this day, the enigma remains an utterly heartbreaking one for my family,” Ms. Barter expressed.