Eight murders and mysteries around the North Coast
THE arrest of a woman in Evans Head over the murder of a baby 15 years ago has shocked the North Coast community.
As the tragedy unfolds The Star takes a look back at some of the North Coast’s most horrific crimes which will never be forgotten.
1. Nursing Home murders
Marie Darragh and Isabella Spencer’s bodies were found at Ballina’s St Andrews Nursing home in May 2014.
In July of the same year former nurse Megan Haines was charged with both murders.
Police have alleged Ms Haines administered the fatal dose of insulin because the two victims had complained about her.
Ms Haines’ case is still before the courts.
2. Whian Whian body found
The mutilated body of Lismore woman Lois Roberts was found in Whian Whian State Forest by bushwalkers in January 1999.
She was last seen trying to hitch a ride to Lismore from outside of the Nimbin police station.
No one has ever been charged with her murder.
3. German backpacker murder
One of Lismore’s most notorious cases is the murder of German backpacker Simone Strobel, whose body was found near the Lismore Continental Club in February 2005.
Despite an inquest into her death and a strong belief by police that her boyfriend Tobias Suckfuell was responsible for her death, it still remains unsolved.
Simone’s parents recently appealed through German media for any information on what happened to their daughter.
4. Bryant in Bonny Hills
While the body of Harmony Bryant was found, the circumstances leading to her eventual death remain unclear.
Deputy State Coroner Malcolm MacPherson said in his inquest finding this month there was little doubt Ms Bryant, originally from Kyogle, met with foul play.
She was found alive but with severe burns next to her smouldering car at Bonny Hills, south of Port Macquarie, in 2003.
5. Lismore Heights open finding
A Lismore Heights woman, Lucy McDonald, went missing from her home in April 2002.
A coronial inquest into her disappearance in 2008 delivered an open finding, but her family are convinced she met with foul play.
6. Broadwater’s headless mystery
Broadwater resident Ned Kelly’s body was found in his home, but missing his head in 2012.
It sparked a police search that stretched all the way to the Northern Territory.
Kelly’s neighbour Jonathon Stenburg was charged with his murder having shot and then decapitated him.
To date the head has never been found.
7. Drug business goes bad
In 2010 Kevin Purtill was accused of murdering John “Jack” Garda at his Lennox Head home on February 8 when a drug deal went wrong.
With the help of his brother Warren, Purtill loaded the body into a ute and drove to a location 3km south of Broadwater where they buried Garda in a shallow grave.
8. A case of patricide?
Michael Martin Jr has been accused of murdering his father Michael Martin Sr at Murwillumbah after allegedly taking out three life insurance policies for $2.5 million on him.
Martin Jr along with Jessica Fallon have been charged over the murder of 46-year-old Michael Martin Snr at his Quarry Rd, South Murwillumbah, unit on June 13, 2014.
The case is still in the courts.