Police scour rubbish tip for clues
By Zoe Satherley
Clues to the death of Simone Strobel may lie under 500 tonnes of garbage at the Lismore tip.
Police yesterday started sifting through a mountain of domestic and commercial waste at the Wyrallah Road Waste Facility, possibly searching for a small knife and items of Simone's clothing.
Six police officers from the Richmond Local Area Command Police Rescue Squad donned gloves, masks and protective suits at 7.30am to begin the mammoth task.
Bob McDonough, who runs the Revolve Recycling Shop at the waste facility, said police had sectioned off a small area of the tip more than a week ago.
Bill McDonough said he had heard that a Lismore City Council employee, collecting waste at Oakes Oval on the day after Simone's disappearance, had recalled finding a small knife and an item of clothing, which he had thrown into a rubbish bin.
Police at the site yesterday said they were not authorised to speak to the media.
They spent the whole day raking through the waste, using hooks, picks and a scythelike instrument.
Two excavators and a tiptruck assisted in removing small quantities of rubbish from the tip face and dumping it on the ground where it was carefully sorted by hand.
It appeared that the police were particularly interested in any items of clothing they recovered.
These were removed to a storage tray inside the police rescue truck.
"People in Lismore have been generally unsettled by this case," Mr McDonough said.
"It's not good for the town.
"Everyone really hopes they find the guy responsible for doing this.
"You don't want people like that running around."
Phil Khemzig, acting manager of the waste facility, said the area which had been cordoned off was the city's waste produced in the week following Simone's disappearance.
He estimated that there would be at least 500 tonnes of waste to sort through and that the job would take a team of people many days.
Dozens of council trucks and private individuals dump waste at the tip face each day, he said.
The waste is compacted each day and covered with plastic sheeting before being covered with earth at the end of the week.