Homicide Squad detectives investigating the discovery of skeletal remains at Belanglo State Forest last year have released an image depicting the deceased, believed to be a teenage girl or young woman.
The image is the result of a ‘facial approximation’ that was completed based on an extensive examination of the female’s skull.
A group of trail bike riders alerted police to the remains in dense bushland near Daly’s Waterhole in the Belanglo State Forest, south of Sydney, on Sunday 29 August 2010.
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Forensic analysis revealed the remains belonged to a female, who has been nicknamed “Angel” by detectives investigating her case. They believe she was aged between 13 and 25 years at the time of her death. The bones could have been in the area between six months and 10 years.
Strike Force Hixson was formed to investigate the discovery but, despite extensive inquiries in NSW and across the country, detectives have not been able to identify her.
They recently engaged the skills of a facial anthropologist from the University of Western Australia in a bid to create a likeness of the female’s appearance and hope someone might recognise her.
“Through extensive checks with missing persons records, it appears no-one has ever reported this teenage girl or young woman missing, but someone must know who she is,” said Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Michael Willing.
“That’s why we’ve engaged the services of a specialist who has completed a facial approximation, involving extensive examination of the female’s skull and computer graphic manipulation, to create a likeness of her appearance.
“Forensic analysis of the remains also indicates the female’s hair was of the length depicted in these images, however, the hairstyle itself could differ.
“We are now appealing to the wider community for any information that could help us to identify her.
“We’re hoping someone might remember her as being a friend or a neighbour, or even someone they recognise as having been a member of their local community.”
Det Supt Willing said detectives had made enquiries with dentists local to the Southern Highlands in the hope dental comparisons might help to identify the female, but had so far been unsuccessful.
“The female’s teeth show signs of dental work typical of Western dentistry and commonly carried out in Australia, but so far we’ve been unable to match them with dental records,” he said.
“If we receive information to point us in the direction of who she might be, we would be in a position to confirm her identity through dental records.”
Police are again releasing an artistic impression of a T-shirt which was located by officers near the skeletal remains. The T-shirt is short sleeved with a distinct motif featuring the word ‘Angelic’ in pink text, a rose and a heart with angel wings. This type of T-shirt is no longer available for sale however was available for sale in New South Wales and other parts of Australia from the early to mid 2000s.
Strike Force Hixson comprises detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad and Goulburn Local Area Command.
They are asking anyone with information that could help them identify the teenage girl or young woman to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Detectives will also launch a social media appeal in an attempt to identify the female, with information available on the police Facebook page, as well as on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Bf2z_aGLMk