Fifteen-year-old missing girl Jessica Small, last seen in Bathurst about 12.35am on October 26, 1997.
Fifteen-year-old missing girl Jessica Small, last seen in Bathurst about 12.35am on October 26, 1997. NSW POLICE

$100k reward for cold case info

THE New South Wales government has offered a $100,000 reward in a bid to help solve the cold case of a teenage girl who mysteriously disappeared more than a decade ago.

Jessica Small, 15, was last seen on October 26, 1997, at about 12.35am after attending the Amuse Me amusement centre on Russell St, Bathurst before hitchhiking a ride to a mate's house nearby with a friend, Vanessa Conlan.

A man driving a white VK Holden Commodore picked the girls up and drove them a short distance before turning on them.

Ms Conlan managed to escape but Ms Small has not been seen since.

Homicide Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Michael Willing said on Friday police believe the teen had been murdered.

He said Strike Force Carica II, which was formed in 2007, had continued to investigate Jessica's disappearance and suspected murder.

"That includes the forensic examination of several vehicles similar to that described by Jessica's friend, interviews with former workers at an Oberon timber mill where a man worked who might have met the girls the night Jessica disappeared, and excavations at a riverbank in O'Connell," he said.

"Unfortunately those leads have not enabled us to find Jessica, but we are hopeful that the reward may prove to be an incentive for someone to come forward with new information."

The NSW Coroner last year recommended a reward of at least $500,000 be offered after an investigation revealed Bathurst police acted inappropriately during their initial investigation.

 

- APN NEWSDESK.

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