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NSW LEE ELLEN STACE: Murdered while hitchhiking in Yamba, NSW - 1997 *1m reward!*

Discussion in 'Australia: Cold Cases' started by Lily, May 14, 2015.

  1. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member


    Anguished Parents Plead For Public Help To Solve Murder Of Teen Hitchhiker

    Sydney Morning Herald
    Sunday October 19, 1997

    By LES KENNEDY in Yamba

    Teenage shop assistant Lee Ellen Stace left her work at Yamba on the far North Coast almost seven weeks ago to hitchhike 35 kilometres to her Brooms Head home.

    The 16-year-old former Year 10 student at Maclean High School had hitched once before from the Bi-Lo supermarket. Like most young people in the Lower Clarence fishing and canegrowing community, she had no fears about the practice.

    But at 2.15 pm on Tuesday, September 2 - after finishing her 10th shift in her new job - Lee, who had ambitions of becoming a child-care worker through a local TAFE course, got into the wrong car.

    Her hair comb, found later beside a water pumping station on the side of Yamba Road on the town's outskirts, told police all was not right.

    At 9 am on Friday, a group of holidaying medical students from Sydney discovered Lee's body in coastal heath and scrub at Redcliff, overlooking Red Rock Beach in the Yuraygir National Park.

    They first thought the decomposed remains protruding from dense tangles of bitou and lantana, in the Lake Arragan camping and rest area, were those of a kangaroo.

    On closer inspection they realised they were looking at a human femur.


    Prime suspect in Stace killing not questioned

    John Kidman
    February 25, 2007

    THE key suspect in one of the state's most baffling unsolved murders is in jail for a different murder.

    Anthony Apps, 31, executed a friend, Christopher Lamb, in 2003, shooting him in the back of the head at a Maclean farmhouse.

    Today, The Sun-Herald can reveal that, despite being at the top of the police list of more than 100 "persons of interest" in the slaying of Lee Ellen Stace, Apps was never questioned about her murder.

    A shortage of local detectives on the North Coast at the time was allegedly so severe there was simply no one to do the job.


    Persons of interest named in murdered girl's inquest
    • 6 years ago November 11, 2009 12:01AM
    A BLOOD-stained piece of rough-sawn timber found in thick scrub near a secluded beach camp site is believed to be the weapon used to murder teenager Lee Ellen Stace, an inquest into her death heard yesterday.

    Police found the piece of wood, which also had hairs on it, on the edge of the camping area at Red Cliff, on the New South Wales north coast, where the 16-year-old's remains were discovered scattered in sand dunes in October 1997.

    The teen, described as shy by her parents, Peter and Robyn Stace, had vanished six weeks before while hitch-hiking home from her part-time job at Bi-Lo in Yamba.

    Three men - the Staces' former neighbour Gregory Davis, and convicted sex-offenders Anthony Apps and John O'Leary - have been identified as persons of interest to the inquest, however they will not be called to give evidence.

    In a statement read to Grafton Coroner's Court, investigating officer Detective Senior-Constable Tony King said clothing, including underwear, a blood-stained cardigan and a black boot were found alongside Lee's remains, which police believe were dismembered by wild animals.

    He also said the fact that items of clothing had been removed suggested she had been sexually assaulted.


    Det King said Brooms Head residents nominated Apps as a person of interest at the start of the investigation.

    “He was described as a suspicious person who beat his parents and bashed his wife,” Det King told the court.

    He said at the time of the disappearance Apps was 22 years old, a user of illicit drugs, and convicted of property thefts and assaults. He was also under investigation for a number of sex offences.

    The court heard that Apps befriended Lee Ellen Stace and her best friend and next-door neighbour Terri Mackay when he lived near them in 1996.

    In summary, these are the claims put to the court yesterday.

    In an interview with police Apps said he was only an acquaintance of Lee and did not know her personally.

    This was one of a number of contradictions in Apps’ description of his relationship with Lee, including a discrepancy about the last time he saw her alive.

    Apps had previously claimed he last saw Lee before her death in Maclean, but in another interview said he saw her on the beach at Brooms Head in July 1997.

    Apps was interviewed a number of times by police after the disappearance and there were other contradictions in his statements.


    Apps also had trouble accounting for his movements on the day of Lee’s disappearance.
  2. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    .................and yet, no arrest????

    This case seems to have dropped off the map after the Inquest in 2009.

    IIRC, Apps was due to be released from prison for the shooting of Christopher Lamb in 2017.
    Kimster likes this.
  3. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    $1m reward over 1997 murder of NSW teen

    The family of a teenage girl who was murdered on the NSW north coast more than 20 years ago say it's unacceptable her killer still hasn't been found.

    Lee Ellen Stace's remains were found in a shallow grave at a camping ground in the Yuraygir National Park near her Brooms Head home on October 17, 1997.

    The 16-year-old was last seen alive six weeks earlier when she finished her shift at a Bi-Lo supermarket in nearby Yamba.

    "We're not 100 per cent sure what happened straight after that," Detective Superintendent Scott Cook told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

    The NSW government is now offering a $1 million reward for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for Lee Ellen's death.

    While it's not clear how she was killed, her injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma.

    Det Supt Cook said a number of suspects were named during a 2009 coronial inquest and suggested all were still on the radar of investigators.

    "We're confident that people out there still know stuff that they're not telling us," he said.

    "Now is the time to put this money on the table, and now's the time for people in that local community to stand up."

    Lee Ellen's father, Peter Stace, pleaded to anyone with information to come forward, saying the impact of her murder has been devastating.

    "The fact that her murderer has not been brought to justice is unacceptable," an emotional Mr Stace told reporters.

    "Lee Ellen's death has had an impact on every aspect of our lives. We will never give up or lose hope that we will find out what happened to our beautiful innocent girl."


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