$500,000 announced to help solve Penrith’s biggest mystery

Lynette Melbin in a photograph taken before she disappeared.
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The NSW Government and NSW Police Force have announced a $500,000 reward for information regarding one of Penrith’s biggest unsolved mysteries.

15-year-old Lynette Melbin suspiciously disappeared on Monday, June 5, 1972, and has never been found.

The teenager was last seen after speaking to her mother at Penrith Plaza and arranged to be picked up from her boyfriend’s house in Penrith later that day. She never arrived.

While a Coronial Inquest into the case in 2001 determined that Lynette had died of undetermined causes, police suspect there are locals in the Penrith community with useful information who have not come forward.

Detectives from Nepean Police Area Command were investigating under Strike Force Willmott, before the matter underwent a review in 2012 and was referred to the Unsolved Homicide Unit, which is re-examining the circumstances surrounding the disappearance.

“As part of this renewed appeal we’re asking any associates of the Melbin family and those who were close to Lynette in the ‘70s to contact police,” the Unsolved Homicide Unit’s Detective Chief Inspector David Laidlaw said.

“We believe Lynette was seen speaking with two males inside a panel van near her house on Caloola Avenue, Penrith – formerly Kingswood Park – on the day she disappeared.”

As part of the investigation, police are also looking to speak with a man who may have previously assisted police.

“We wish to speak with anyone who resided in Caloola Avenue during that time and those who may be able to help us identify those men,” he said.

“We also believe a male who worked either in a bakery or doing bread deliveries and was known to Lynette may have assisted police initially and urge him to come forward.”

With the $500,000 reward pertaining to any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for Lynette’s disappearance, Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole said it was critical that people reach out to police to help provide closure.

Lynette’s twin sister, Liana Stewart said the grief has been “unimaginable” but the family is still searching for answers.

“We know Lynette met with something sinister and is never coming back and the best we can hope for is someone who knows something will come forward so we can finally know what happened,” Ms Stewart said this week.

“It’s too late for Mum, who we lost two years ago, but we pray we get the answers, particularly for our 86-year-old dad. If anybody knows anything no matter how small, please come forward, we will be forever grateful.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.

Emily Feszczuk

A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers Local, State and Federal politics for the Weekender, as well as crime and general news.

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