Police will commence a forensic excavation underneath the Katoomba home of Belinda Peisley, who has been missing since 1998 on Monday, December 3.
Belinda Peisley, then aged 19, was last seen in the Katoomba area on Saturday 26 September 1998.
Despite extensive investigations and numerous ground searches by local police and the Homicide Squad over the years, Belinda has not been located.
Investigators identified numerous persons of interest and explored various lines of inquiry, which were tested during a Coronial Inquiry.
In 2013, the NSW Coroner found that Belinda had died around the time of her disappearance but returned an open finding on the cause and manner of death.
Detectives from the Homicide Squad continue to investigate Belinda’s disappearance and suspected murder under Strike Force Belonidae.
As part of their ongoing inquiries, strike force detectives will commence a forensic excavation and search at Belinda’s former home.
The forensic excavation is led by forensic investigators from Crime Scene Services Branch, with the assistance of Blue Mountains Police Rescue, the Public Order and Riot Squad, and Blue Mountains Police Area Command.
It is expected the excavation will take three days, concluding on Wednesday, December 5.
Ms Peisley was last seen on September 26, 1998 and her remains have never been found. She had inherited a significant amount of money before her disappearance, and was addicted to heroin.
An ABC documentary Who Killed Belinda Peisley? aired on August 7 during national missing persons week and raised more questions about her disappearance.
Ms Peisley’s father Mark Wearne, who was part of the film, told the Blue Mountains Gazette at the time of the film’s airing that he didn’t believe his daughter’s disappearance had been adequately investigated.
“There are questions this documentary will not answer and there are holes it leaves. Did the police – the homicide squad – look at any other persons of interest? Were all these people’s [persons of interest] alibis tested?”
He said there also could be a link between the disappearance of Leura woman Maureen McLaughlin in 1992 (her body was found in Lithgow later that year) and Kellie Carmichael from Geelong who was last seen in a Katoomba hostel in 2001.
“They were women of similar age and similar social situation and were all travelling in the same circles,” Mr Wearne said.
“The common thread is the drug scene in Katoomba.
“Was there a serial killer operating in the Blue Mountains at the time?”
Mr Wearne said he has not been contacted by the homicide squad since 2013.
“There is so much that could have been done,” he said. “It’s been very difficult”.
A $100,000 reward remains in place for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Ms Peisley’s disappearance.
Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.