Cold case breakthrough: Husband of missing woman arrested almost 40 years later

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Roxlyn Bowie disappeared in 1982 from her home in NSW. Source: 7 News.

The husband of a woman who mysteriously disappeared almost 40 years ago has been arrested after an extensive investigation by police – which even unearthed a ring with the letter ‘R’ emblazoned on it on a plot of land close to their home.

Roxlyn Bowie disappeared when she was just 31 years old from their Walgett home in NSW in 1982. The mum-of-two’s body was never found.

Now, according to Channel 9’s A Current Affair, her 69-year-old former ambulance officer husband John is assisting police – but vehemently denied having anything to do with the disappearance on camera. He was arrested as he was about to leave a Queensland jail, where he was serving a sentence for unrelated matters. He is now expected to be extradited to Sydney.

NSW Police Robbery and Serious Crime Chief Danny Doherty has been heading up the re-opened investigation and told the TV show is had been a “long journey” to gather the evidence they needed to make the arrest. And reacting to the news on camera, Roxlyn’s daughter Brenda Boyd admitted it was a “bittersweet moment”.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about mum and how kind, caring and loving she was,” she said in a statement to the Nine show. “There are many things I miss about her, including her shy and sweet smile. She was a devoted mother – my brother and I never doubted how loved we were. She, too, was so loved by those who were lucky to meet her.”

After Roxlyn first disappeared, John reportedly claimed that they’d argued and she had threatened to leave him. He later claimed he returned from the pub to find her gone. However, Brenda insisted she couldn’t get her head round that.

“I always struggled with that, I believed that she wouldn’t have left us,” Brenda added to the show. A note was later found in the home, reading: “Dear John, I’m leaving you with the kids for good.” Another was sent from the same notepad to her parents – but one had an alteration of the word “her” to “his”.

DCI Russell Oxford told the show the notes were key to the investigation, but admitted they were “puzzling”. While a coronial inquest in 2014 determined Roxlyn had died, no cause of death was ever stated as no body was found.

Police have worked hard to gather evidence since, with a million-dollar reward posted for information. An entire dam near Walgett was also drained and searched, and ground-penetrating radar used to scan the concrete floor of a factory across the road.

The family home was also examined in March by scientific police using blood detection agents. According to Nine however, there was a breakthrough in April this year.

Police unearthed a sterling silver ring with the letter ‘R’ on it, on a plot of land close by. Brenda added to A Current Affair: “Perhaps I’ll get some answers – maybe not closure, but definitely more answers, and that will bring me closer to the truth of what happened last night.”

Do you remember this case 37 years ago?

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