Supplied photo of 16-year-old Lee Stace, whose dismembered remains were found in a shallow grave on the NSW north coast in 1997. Credit: NSW Police
Supplied photo of 16-year-old Lee Stace, whose dismembered remains were found in a shallow grave on the NSW north coast in 1997. Credit: NSW Police

$1m reward remains 23 years after murder of Lee-Ellen Stace

POLICE have confirmed a $1 million reward remains on offer for information regarding to the murder of Lee-Ellen Stace as the anniversary of her disappearance passes for another year.

Homicide Squad detectives are continuing to appeal for information into the unsolved murder of the Brooms Head teenager 23 years ago

>>> "PEOPLE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED": Plea as $1m reward offered

Ms Stace, aged 16, was last seen on Tuesday, September 2, 1997, when she finished work at a Yamba Road supermarket - a job she had started a week earlier.

Yuraygir National Park on the NSW North Coast where the dismembered remains of 16-year-old Lee Stace were found in a shallow grave in 1997. Photo credit: NSW Police
Yuraygir National Park on the NSW North Coast where the dismembered remains of 16-year-old Lee Stace were found in a shallow grave in 1997. Photo credit: NSW Police

Her family reported her missing, which sparked a large-scale police and community search operation, and six weeks later, her remains were located in the Yuraygir National Park near Brooms Head.

Grafton detectives conducted a thorough investigation at the time. However, no one has ever been charged for her murder.

>>> TIMELINE: Two decades, no answers for Stace murder

A number of suspects were named during the 2009 coronial inquest into her suspected murder, and the coroner recommended the investigation be referred to the Homicide Squad for future investigation.

 

$1M reward on offer 23 years after Stace murder

 

Last year, a $1 million NSW Government reward was announced and remains on offer for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for her death.

The investigation remains the responsibility of the Homicide Squad's Unsolved Homicide Unit under Strike Force Delaware.

Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty, said detectives have received incredible support from the community throughout the course of the investigation.

Family supplied photo of teenager Lee Ellen Stace (16) who disappeared September 2, 1997 after finishing work at Yamba Bi-Lo supermarket, believed by police to have been abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered.
Family supplied photo of teenager Lee Ellen Stace (16) who disappeared September 2, 1997 after finishing work at Yamba Bi-Lo supermarket, believed by police to have been abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered.

"Following the announcement of a $1 million reward in June last year, detectives have conducted further investigations and re-examined evidence received over the past two decades," Det Supt Doherty said.

"As with all unsolved homicide investigations, anyone in the community that may have fresh information to assist us in progressing our inquiries is urged to come forward."

NSW Police have offered a $1 million reward for information into the 1997 murder of Lee Ellen Stace.
NSW Police have offered a $1 million reward for information into the 1997 murder of Lee Ellen Stace.

 

Ms Stace's parents Peter and Robyn spoke at the press conference announcing the $1 million reward in 2019.

Mr Stace said the family would never give up or lose hope of finding her killer or killers and bringing them to justice.

"We miss her and love her with all our waking moments," he said. "She was a typical teenage girl who enjoyed life."

He thanked the local community for its support over the years.

"They've been there to support us through tough times, but also the Victims of Homicide Group, they've helped out great," he said.

Members of the Stace family walk towards Grafton Court for the beginning of the inquest into the death of Lee-Ellen Stace.
Members of the Stace family walk towards Grafton Court for the beginning of the inquest into the death of Lee-Ellen Stace.

Mr Stace said it was now up to the members of the community who had information about his daughter's fate to come forward.

"Come forward to the police please," he said. "Don't be scared."

For anyone that may have information relating to the case, they are urged to contact NSW Police or Crimestoppers.



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