Victorian police have announced a $1 million reward for information about the suspected murder of Krystal Fraser, who disappeared a decade ago while heavily pregnant.
The then 23-year-old, who had an intellectual disability, was last seen on June 20, 2009, in the small town of Pyramid Hill in north central Victoria.
Police said she discharged herself from hospital the night she went missing, just days before she was due to give birth to a baby boy.
She has never been found and police believe she was murdered.
Detective Acting Inspector Julian Horan, from the Missing Persons Squad, said detectives had received “promising” new information earlier this year about a person previously spoken to by police.
“[It] sadly leads us to look at the possibility that Krystal met with foul play because of the intimate relationship she shared with a man,” Detective Inspector Horan said.
“This relationship and the subsequent pregnancy may have caused a confrontation between Krystal and this man, leading to her disappearance and death.”
The investigation covered multiple regional Victorian towns when it began in 2009, and despite a man being arrested in 2018 no charges have been laid.
“This new information has allowed us to narrow our focus more closely on one individual,” Detective Inspector Horan said.
A reward of $100,000 offered in 2012 has been boosted to $1 million for information leading to the conviction of Ms Fraser’s killer or killers.
Police narrow in on ‘father of Krystal’s unborn child’
Police said they had established Ms Fraser travelled on a V/Line train from Bendigo, in central Victoria, to Pyramid Hill on the day of her disappearance.
They said she got off the train about 8.40pm, and was last seen leaving an Albert Street address about 9.30pm after visiting an acquaintance.
“It has been 10 years since Krystal’s disappearance. Her unborn son would have been 10 years old. It is unimaginable to try to understand what the family must have lived through over the past decade,” Detective Inspector Horan said.
Police said Ms Fraser took a 40-second phone call on her mobile phone just before midnight. The origin of that call has been traced to a public phone box outside the post office in the nearby town of Leitchville.
Her mobile phone activity placed her in Leitchville at 2.49am, some three hours after she got the phone box call.
Police said the town was significant because it was about a 10-minute drive to neighbouring Cohuna, where she had earlier told hospital staff she would be attending a party.
“We believe she discharged herself from hospital on the night of her disappearance, against medical advice, because of what she described as a ‘party at Cohuna’,” Detective Inspector Horan said.
“What we don’t know is whether or not there was actually a party. If there was, who attended and what was the specific location?
“Calls to Krystal’s mobile phone, from the Leitchville phone booth, the night prior to her disappearance and while she was at the hospital, lead us to believe they relate to the ‘party’ she mentioned to hospital staff.
“I believe this caller holds the answers to what happened to Krystal and may be the father of Krystal’s unborn child.
“Investigators strongly believe that the caller was the last person to speak to Krystal prior to her disappearance.”
Rewards for information are paid at the discretion of the Chief Commissioner of Police.
Police said the Director of Public Prosecutions may also consider granting indemnification to people who provided information about the identity of Ms Fraser’s killer or killers.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers.