Chrystal Winfield, above left, the daughter of Bronwyn Winfield (inset) was only 10 years old when her mother disappeared 16 years ago. A $100,000 reward is on offer to help police solve the case of Bronwyn’s disappearance and suspected murder.
Chrystal Winfield, above left, the daughter of Bronwyn Winfield (inset) was only 10 years old when her mother disappeared 16 years ago. A $100,000 reward is on offer to help police solve the case of Bronwyn’s disappearance and suspected murder. HUNTER BRAD

Hopes Winfield case will be solved

CHRYSTAL WINFIELD was just 10 years old when she saw her mother at their Lennox Head home for the last time 16 years ago.

“I actually saw her on the night she went missing and that was the last time I saw her,” she said.

“I went to bed and that was it.”

Ms Winfield made a heartfelt plea yesterday for information about her mother from The Domain behind Parliament House in Sydney where NSW Police Minister Michael Daley had just announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the suspected murder case.

“Bronwyn Winfield was a lovely lady and a good mum,” Mr Daley told reporters.

“She left behind two young children, aged five and 10 at the time, making the attack all the more heinous.

“Mrs Winfield’s family, particularly her children, deserve to know what happened – and her murderer deserves to be behind bars.

“I hope that the lure of a cash reward may encourage those with information, who may have been reluctant to come forward at the time, to help police bring those responsible to justice.

Bronwyn’s brother Andrew Read, uncle to Chrystal and her younger sister Lauren, also appealed for information.

“It has been a terrible thing to live with day-to-day,” he told The Northern Star.

“She was a young mother in the prime of her life and she deserves to be laid to rest with dignity.

“This has been a long time coming and we can’t speak highly enough of the Unsolved Homicide Squad and the Government for providing this reward.

“There’s a couple of people that we think might know something, so if they can (find) it in their heart to come forward and speak to the police ... we hope that this could bring some closure to the matter finally.”

In one of the most baffling unsolved cases on the North Coast, Mrs Winfield was reported missing by her estranged husband, who is believed to still live in the area, 11 days after her disappearance on May 16, 1993.

The case remained a missing persons investigation until 1998 when Ballina Police opened a new investigation which led to a Coronial Inquiry in 2002.

The Coroner concluded that that Mrs Winfield had died on or about the day she was last seen and recommended that a ‘known person’ be charged with her murder.

The Department of Public Prosecutions did not have enough evidence at the time to lay charges.

Following the formation of the Unsolved Homicide Squad in 2004, and it’s activation in 2008, police formed Strike Force Chemsbrook in 2009 to re-investigate the case.

Detective Senior Sergeant George Radmore said at the time that unexpected new witnesses had come forward after the re-opened investigation was publicised in The Northern Star.

Strike Force detectives led by Snr Sgt Radmore scoured the Winfield’s former home in Lennox Head for further forensic evidence and re-interviewed neighbours shortly after.

Unsolved Homicide Squad Detective Chief Inspector Dennis Bray confirmed that no one had been charged over the disappearance but said police were determined to pursue the matter.

“The investigation is ongoing but today’s announcement by the Minister comes at a time when we believe people do have information they could pass on to police,” he told The Northern Star.

“We are keen to obtain evidence to prosecute the person or persons responsible and bring closure for the family.

“Police urge anyone who may have information about the incident, no matter how small, to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or Ballina detectives on 6681 8699.

“In particular police are appealing to anyone with details about Bronwyn’s movements on the 15th and 16th of May 1993, to come forward.

“Detectives are also keen to speak with anyone who was a close friend or associate of Bronwyn’s.”

All information given to Crime Stoppers is treated as strictly confidential and may be given at any time of the day or night.

Related stories:

http://www.ballinaadvocate.com.au/story/2009/11/28/no-time-to-solve-murders/

http://www.northernstar.com.au/story/2009/05/28/new-evidence-in-old-murder-case-new-witnesses-step/

http://www.northernstar.com.au/story/2009/08/03/disappeared-without-a-trace/



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