News State SA News Man faces court in Bell murder case

Man faces court in Bell murder case

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A 65-year-old man has appeared in court charged with the murder of 10-year-old Louise Bell, who disappeared from her Adelaide bedroom 30 years ago.

Dieter Pfennig appeared in the Port Lincoln Magistrates Court after being arrested on Tuesday, with police alleging he broke into the girl’s bedroom at her parent’s suburban Hackham West home in January, 1983.

Her body has never been recovered.

In 1991 police searched a property that used to belong to Pfennig, pulling up floorboards and excavating part of the back yard.

They returned to the home in 2012 and excavated other sections of the yard with the aid of ground-penetrating radar.

Deputy commissioner Grant Stevens said Pfennig’s arrest had followed a comprehensive review of the investigation over the past two years which had identified a number of new lines of inquiry.

He would not be drawn on the nature of any new leads or evidence generated by the review.

Asked how long Pfennig had been a person of interest, he replied “for some time”.

He said Louise’s family was devastated by the crime.

“The fact that we have conducted this arrest today will, in some respects, provide a degree of closure,” he said.

But full closure would not occur until her remains were recovered.

Pfennig made no application for bail and was remanded in custody to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on February 4.