Police expect a half-million dollar reward and new forensic imaging to lead to a breakthrough in a historic murder case in NSW.
On February 21, 1997, a couple stopped at a public rest area on the southern side of Hume Highway in Penrose when they made a grim discovery of the body of a naked man who had drowned by the river.
They informed the police, who reached the spot and recovered the body of a man, who was beheaded at the base of the neck.
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About a month ago, four fishermen found a shopping bag containing a human head in Salt Pan Creek in Padstow, which was later confirmed to match the remains discovered in the river.
Despite ongoing investigations, including the help of authorities around the world, the man has never been identified.
NSW Police said, “In 1999, an investigation by the NSW Coroner found that the person had died by strangulation by an unknown person or unknown person on or Thursday 20 February 1997.”
However, with the help of modern technology, the NSW Police Facial Recognition Unit is now able to produce a more accurate image of a man’s face.
A reward of $500,000 has also been announced for information identifying the person and/or those responsible for his murder.
Homicide Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty said, “The technology used in this reconstruction has been able to recreate the semblance of what the dead man looked like at the time.”
“He was murdered in a particularly gruesome style and his naked body was left in a river by the side of a highway, beheaded.
“This brutal crime has remained a mystery for a significant period of time and anyone who can help solve it may receive $500,000 for their efforts, so please come forward”.
If you have information for police, please contact NSW Police on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours a day.
You can also report crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via nsw.crimestoppers.com.au 24 hours a day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organization.