A key witness in the Marion Barter mystery, Ric Blum, has claimed that she is still alive during an ongoing inquest into the disappearance of the Queensland teacher.
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 Barter 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 residing in Luxembourg. Investigations also revealed that following her disappearance, an unknown person appeared to have accessed her bank account, withdrawing a reported $80,000.
The NSW Government, together with the NSW Police Force, has announced that the reward for information into the 1997 suspicious disappearance of Marion Barter has been increased to $500,000.https://t.co/afSJ6FnPDx pic.twitter.com/V0sQk6aiam
— NSW Police Force (@nswpolice) April 27, 2022
On Wednesday, May 31, a coronial inquest into Barter’s disappearance heard from Blum who had been romantically involved with Barter.
During his testimony, Blum was questioned at length by Counsel Assisting the State Coroner Adam Casselden SC regarding the nature of his relationship with Barter, Cassleden asking him to be “full and frank” about their time together.
“Would you like to say anything further in relation to the disappearance of Marion Barter?” Casselden asked.
“I myself believe that she is still alive,” Blum told the inquest.
When asked why he believed Barter was still alive, Blum referred to a conversation he had with the now 51-year-old about her family.
“In a long conversation before she went to England she said that she wanted to separate from her family,” he said.
“She didn’t want anything to do with any member of her family.
“She was a bit of a strange person.”
As the inquest continues, one person who is no doubt clinging to hope that the proceedings will provide some answers is Barter’s daughter, Sally Leydon
Previously in the inquest, Leydon delivered a heartbreaking statement to the court detailing the impact the mysterious disappearance has had on her family.
Leydon stressed to the inquest that she is unable to move forward with her life due to the “fantasy she is alive and well”.
“I need to find her. Simple. I can’t just sit here and get on with my life,” she said.
“I’m heartbroken she’s not here today to share my life with me.
“My heart aches with anxiety every time I talk about it, I need that pain to stop before it stops me.
“The truth is like water, it will always find a way.”
The inquest has been adjourned with findings expected to be handed down at a future date that is yet to be disclosed.