Police excavate riverbank
for murdered girl’s remains
POLICE investigating the suspicious disappearance of Bathurst teenager Jessica Small today (Monday) are excavating an isolated bank on the Fish River, near O’Connell, in the hope of uncovering her remains.
Ms Small, 15, was last seen about 12:35am on Sunday, October 26, 1997, in the Bathurst CBD after attending the Amuse Me amusement centre on Russell St with a female friend.
Acting on new information, Homicide Squad detectives are excavating the area with the assistance of Bathurst Police, the Police Dog Unit and the Australian Federal Police.
The excavation is expected to take two days and, at this stage, detectives say they cannot rule out the possibility of finding Jessica’s remains.
Ms Small and her frie4nd were attempting to hitch-hike home and entered a white-coloured VK or VL Holden Commodore sedan driven by a man on the morning she disappeared.
He stopped the car on Hereford St, Bathurst, and turned off the headlights before allegedly assaulting both girls and attempting to detain them in the vehicle, police say.
Ms Small’s friend managed to escape and fled the scene before alerting nearby residents.
The car, with its headlights still turned off, was seen a short time later travelling along the Great Western Highway at Kelso before turning on to O’Connell Rd towards the hamlet, situated between Bathurst and Oberon.
Ms Small has not been seen or heard from since.
Her disappearance continues to be investigated by detectives from the Homicide Squad under Strike Force Carica II.
Investigators believe Ms Small was murdered shortly after her disappearance.
They have conducted extensive inquiries in recent years and new information suggests a car similar to the one in which she was abducted was observed in a riverside area at O’Connell just hours later.
Detectives have been told the car was driven to a secluded area near the Fish River, off the O’Connell Rd, O’Connell.
The car remained parked there for a considerable period of time.
Detectives are also continuing to appeal for anyone with information about Ms Small’s disappearance to come forward.
They are still seeking information about a male employee of the Oberon Timber Mill who was present at the Amuse Me amusement centre on the night of her disappearance and may be able to assist police.
They say they would also like to hear from a witness who previously told police about a former workmate in the Bathurst area who owned and then disposed of a white Holden Commodore around the time of Ms Small’s disappearance.
That vehicle had also possibly been involved in a car accident, police say.
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Jessica Small is urged to contact police or Homicide Squad detectives via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.