Stunning revelation in historic disappearance of Marion Barter

Feb 02, 2022
Marion Barter was last seen at a bus depot in Queensland, on Sunday, June 22 1997. Source: New South Wales Police.

Queensland teacher, Marion Barter who vanished 25 years ago is believed to have had a mystery lover with a known history of fleecing a number of women, a coronial inquest has heard.

Barter was last seen at a Southport bus depot in Queensland, on Sunday, June 22, 1997. In the weeks leading up to her disappearance, Barter was spotted by a family member leaving a service station in Southport, in a red Honda Civic Breeze accompanied by a tall male passenger. It’s believed Barter left Australia for the United Kingdom on June 22 under the name Florabella Natalia Marion Remakel, which she had officially changed a month before leaving the country.

Investigators believe Marion may have re-entered Australia on August 2, 1997, under the name of Florabella Natalia Marion Remakel with an incoming passenger card stating she was married and resided in Luxembourg. Investigations also revealed that following her disappearance, an unknown person appeared to have accessed her bank account, withdrawing a reported $80,000.

Now a coronial inquest to determine the cause of her disappearance and whether she is still alive has heard interesting new evidence. It was revealed that NSW Police investigators have identified and spoken with a secret lover of Barter’s whom she had been seeing shortly before she disappeared.

The court heard the man is believed to be Ric Blum from northern NSW. He has multiple aliases including ‘Richard Lloyd Westbury’, ‘Frederick de Hedervary’, ‘Willie Wouters’ and ‘Fernand Remakel’, according to 7 News.

Blum admitted to having “fleeting” relationships with Barter.

Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty, said strike force detectives have re-examined items from the original investigation in the hope that the appeal and the coronial inquest will encourage people to come forward with information.

“Marion’s behaviour leading up to June 1997 and following her departure from Australia has been described as out of character,” he said.

“We are particularly eager to hear from anyone who may have had any interaction with Marion Barter or Florabella Remakel from June 1997 onwards, particularly in late July or early August 1997.

“We are trying to piece together some of the missing links in Marion’s movements and her close connections to create a full picture of exactly what has happened,” Det Supt Doherty said.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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