Police have launched a new forensic search at the former home of missing Sydney woman Lynette Dawson. NSW Police confirmed on Wednesday they would visit the $2.4 million Bayview home Dawson disappeared from in 1982 after a recent revival in public interest surrounding the case.
Dawson’s disappearance is one of the most mysterious cold cases in Australian history and was recently thrown back into the spotlight thanks to a hugely popular podcast revisiting her tragic story.
The mother-of-two was living at the property when she disappeared at the age of 33 from Sydney’s northern beaches on January 9, 1982. Now her family – including her daughter – are calling for answers.
“As part of their ongoing commitment to providing answers to her family, Strike Force Scriven detectives have commenced a forensic search at Mrs Dawson’s former home at Bayview today,” NSW Police said in a statement.
“In 2015, detectives from the Homicide Squad’s Unsolved Homicide Unit established Strike Force Scriven to re-investigate the circumstances surrounding the 1982 disappearance and suspected murder of Northern Beaches wife and mother, Lynette Joy Dawson.”
The statement added: “Police will facilitate a brief door-stop in relation to a forensic search at a Northern Beaches property in relation to Strike Force Scriven.”
It comes after popular podcast The Teacher’s Pet, produced by The Australian, revisited the cold case in detail and recalled how Lyn’s husband Chris Dawson, now 70, claimed at the time that she needed time away. Just a few days later, he moved his schoolgirl lover into the family home.
Dawson didn’t inform police that his wife was missing for nearly six weeks.
The Teacher’s Pet has been downloaded more than 17 million times since its debut and has even hit number 1 on the iTunes podcast charts in several countries. It looks firstly at Lyn and Chris’ marriage, before focusing on his affair with his student lover.
Despite two coronial inquests recommending Chris be prosecuted for murder, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) stated at the time there was insufficient evidence to lay charges, ABC reports. Dawson has been living in Queensland ever since and managed to largely avoid media attention – until now. He continues to deny any involvement in his wife’s disappearance.
Nicholas Cowdery QC, who was in charge of the NSW’s DPP at the time of the initial case, recently appeared on the ABC’s Australian Story to explain why charges weren’t laid.
“Without a body, without knowing first of all whether in fact she is dead, without knowing secondly if she is dead, how she died, it’s very hard to mount a case of a reasonable prospect of conviction just on motive and the undefined existence of means and opportunity. That makes it very weak,” he told the show.
However, police sent a new brief of evidence to the DPP in April this year in the hopes of finally achieving a criminal prosecution.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told the show they don’t plan to give up, no matter what the outcome, adding: “We’re still, with some passion, chasing the offender for this crime, and we sincerely hope that this year the matter will come to hopefully an end, a rather positive one.”