The parents of Claremont serial killer victim Sarah Spiers have told of their heartache and devastation over the loss of their daughter as the 20th anniversary of her disappearance approaches.
Ms Spiers was 18 when she disappeared on January 26, 1996 after leaving popular nightclub Club Bayview in Claremont, in Perth’s western suburbs.
She is believed to be the first of three victims, including 23-year-old Jane Rimmer and 27-year-old Ciara Glennon, but of the three, Ms Spiers is the only one whose body has never been found.
In a statement issued through West Australian police, Don and Carol Spiers said their grief was still raw.
“Time has not healed our loss, even after 20 years,” they said.
“Words are inadequate to describe our personal loss and heartbreak.
“It’s hard not to wonder what Sarah’s life, and ours, could have been had she not been taken from us. She was so full of life and had a great love of family.”
The Spiers family said they had the support of many, but appealed to the media to respect their privacy.
“We want to thank our family and friends for their ongoing support,” they said.
“We also want to thank the police for their support and for keeping us well informed about the investigation.
“We retain confidence in the Macro Investigation Team to solve this case.
“We have been disappointed in some media coverage on occasion in the past, and in particular reports that have potentially misled public thinking and therefore jeopardised the ongoing investigation.
“We understand the media’s interest at this time but ask that you please respect our privacy.”
Police decline to confirm ‘breakthrough’
Ms Spiers told her friends she was tired on the night she disappeared and was going to get a taxi home — and has not been seen since.
Five months later, Ms Rimmer vanished after drinking at the Continental Hotel in Claremont.
Ms Rimmer’s body was found in August 1996 in bush at Wellard, south of Perth.
Ms Glennon was the killer’s third victim. She disappeared from the Claremont area in March 1997, having also visited the Continental Hotel.
Her body was found in April of that year in bush at Eglington, north of Perth.
In October last year the Post suburban newspaper reported police had made a breakthrough in the case by establishing a forensic link showing that whoever killed Ms Glennon in January 1997 also abducted a 17-year-old from a Claremont street in February 1995, before sexually assaulting her in Karrakatta Cemetery.
However, police refused to confirm or deny the report.
Today police said they remained committed to “pursuing justice for the victims and to providing their families with some answers”.
“WA Police is optimistic these crimes can still be solved despite the passage of time,” they said in a statement.
“For obvious reasons WA Police will not comment on current lines of inquiry.”
Claremont investigation spans two decades
The Claremont serial killings shocked Perth and sparked one of the biggest murder investigations in Australia’s history.
The Macro task force was established by police early on in an attempt to solve the mystery.
Senior officers leading the task force publicly focussed their attention on a handful of suspects, including a middle-aged public servant who lived with his parents in Cottesloe.
There have been more than 10 independent reviews of the Claremont investigation by expert crime fighters from the eastern states and around the world.
In 2008, police released previously unseen video footage of a man seen with Ms Rimmer just minutes before she disappeared.
The CCTV vision showed Ms Rimmer standing outside the Continental Hotel when a man approached her and engaged in a brief discussion.
Police said the man was the only one in the footage they had not been able to identify, but described him as a person of interest, not a suspect.
Senior officers also said in 2008 that up to 3,000 people had been investigated as part of the Macro probe.
The Macro task force remains active, two decades after Ms Spiers disappeared.