Forensic investigators are examining “anomalies” in the grounds of the former Sydney home of missing woman Lynette Dawson, as they hunt for her remains.
Homicide squad commander Scott Cook said officers would carry out a “hand dig” at the Bayview house, and sift whatever material they find.
Lynette Dawson, a 33-year-old mother of two girls, was last seen in January 1982. Her daughters, Shanelle and Sherryn, were just four and two when she disappeared.
Police are examining four areas around the former Dawson family house and in the backyard near a clothesline and pool – which was there before she was believed to have been murdered. The search is expected to take up to five days.
These areas have been examined previously but not with the technologies now available.
“Previously, when we conducted examinations here, there was a number of anomalies in the ground,” Superintendent Cook said.
“We will go until we hit rock.”
In 2015, detectives from the homicide squad’s unsolved homicide unit established Strike Force Scriven to look again into the circumstances surrounding Mrs Dawson’s 1982 disappearance and suspected murder.
Her case sparked national interest after it became the subject of a popular podcast, Teacher’s Pet, by The Australian’s Hedley Thomas.
Mr Thomas said police would be intensely interested in excavating the fill around the swimming pool at Mrs Dawson’s former home.
“They previously found a significant item of evidence in that fill in 2000,” he told Sky News.
Timeline of the case
Mrs Dawson spoke to her mother on the night of January 8, 1982, while at her home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with her husband, Chris.
She planned to meet her mother for lunch the following day at Northbridge Baths, but did not show up.
Mr Dawson reported her missing on February 18, 1982.
He has long been a suspect in his wife’s disappearance, but has consistently denied any involvement.
Mr Dawson played professional rugby league for the Newcastle Jets in the 1970s.
He lives on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast with his third wife. She was a sports teacher at Sydney’s Cromer High School in 1980, when Mr Dawson started a sexual relationship with a year 11 student.
Mr Dawson has said his wife left him and their daughters on January 9, 1982, after telling him she wanted a few days away. She has never been seen again.
The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions has twice declined to charge a known person with murder despite such a recommendation following coronial inquests in 2001 and 2003.