WE STILL WAIT FOR SIMONE ...
By ALEX EASTON email@example.com SIMONE STROBEL'S mother says she still waits for her daughter to come home, just as she has since Simone applied for her visa for her ill-fated trip to Australia.
Speaking publicly about her daughter's death in Lismore for the first time, Gabi Strobel offered her family's heartfelt thanks to the people of Lismore for their support and prayers in the days, weeks and months after Simone's body was discovered near the Continental Club in Uralba Street in February, 2005.
Mrs Strobel says in her letter, which is written in German, that her family is deeply religious and that part of the family's initial pain had stemmed from the fact Simone had died far from home without access to a priest.
However, when Simone's brother, Alexander, arrived in Lismore soon after her body was found, he described a city where the priests, children, teenagers and adults alike were united in offering prayers and respects, lighting candles and leaving flowers for their lost loved one.
"For this work of love we, the whole family Strobel, want to thank you," Mrs Strobel writes.
Mrs Strobel's comments come a little over two months ahead of the long-awaited inquest into Simone's death, at which one of her travelling companions, Jens Martin, is expected to give evidence.
Her boyfriend, Tobias Suckfuell, and his sister, Katrin, have both declined police requests to appear at the inquest.
Tobias has been named by German authorities as their prime suspect in the case and by Australian police as a suspect in the case.
He now lives in South Africa, but Sydney-based Homicide Detective Wayne Hayes said that would not stop Australian authorities from extraditing him if they gathered enough evidence to press charges.
At present, there is not enough evidence to charge anyone with Simone's death. However, Insp Hayes said police would pursue the case until it was solved.