Lismore embraces Simone Strobel's grieving brother
ALEXANDER STROBEL let his tears flow as he knelt by the place where he believes his sister Simone was murdered, right in the middle of Lismore city.
Ragged from lack of sleep, eyes red from weeping but fighting to maintain his composure, the 27-year-old didn't want anyone to recognise him.
He arrived from Germany on Saturday night with a travelling companion, believed to be the uncle of missing German tourist, Simone Strobel, 25.
It was his first visit to the place where police last Thursday morning found the body of a woman, concealed under shrubbery, beside the busy Uralba Street sidewalk linking the CBD to Lismore Shopping Square.
Yesterday was Lismore Car boot Market day and hundreds of people came to pay their respects to the beautiful young German kindergarten teacher.
Simone mysteriously disappeared after leaving the Lismore Tourist Caravan Park and going for a short walk just before midnight last Friday week.
The caravan park, in Dawson Street, is just across the road from where the body was found, 90 metres away.
Alexander arrived at the crime scene amid a constant stream of people who were coming and going with flowers, cards and letters to leave at the site.
Some burned incence, others lit candles and prayed.
Last night, a large group of mourners gathered to hold a candle-lit vigil for the young women whose death has broken the heart of a city.
Seconds before Alexander arrived, an odd-looking man dropped a small pile of clothes and a single pink and white thong into a little prayer circle which mourners had built, adjacent to the sidewalk.
"Please don't touch anything," police said as Alexander moved towards the clothing.
"I'm her brother," he whispered, as he gestured 'Sshh' with his finger on his lips.
"I am so sorry," the officer said, putting his arm around Alexander's shoulders before putting the clothes into a bag and whisking them away.
Two unrelated women, who were visiting the crime scene with flowers, realised that Alexander was Simone's brother.
In a spontaneous gesture of comfort and love, and with tears in their eyes, they embraced him warmly.
"We are all so, so sorry," one woman said as she hugged him tightly and gave him the bunch of yellow and white flowers she had brought to leave at Simone's probable death site.
Alexander appeared deeply moved by the dozens of floral tributes and messages people have left taped near to the tree where the body was found.
Police have still not been able to positively identify the woman's body, which was badly decomposed.
Dental records have been flown from Germany and police are yet to match these.
The body of the woman was transferred to Glebe morgue last Friday, where forensic police are still examining it. A post mortem has been conducted but results are not yet available, police said.