Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

'Someone Has to Know Something'; Two Decades on, Lee Stace's Murder Remains Unsolved but Her Dad's Convinced

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

'Someone Has to Know Something'; Two Decades on, Lee Stace's Murder Remains Unsolved but Her Dad's Convinced

Article excerpt

Byline: Clair Morton clair.morton@dailyexaminer.com.au

TWENTY years can pass in the blink of an eye for some people, but Peter and Robyn Stace have felt every single day.

Because every day that goes by is another 24 hours they don't have justice for their teenage daughter Lee Ellen Stace, whose murder in 1997 remains unsolved.

On the day the blonde, beach-loving 16-year-old was last seen alive, September 2, 1997, it is believed she attempted to hitch-hike home to Brooms Head after finishing a shift as a checkout operator at Yamba's BiLo supermarket, a job she had started just a week earlier.

Had she made it home safely that day, she would now be 36-years-old.

Instead, the schoolgirl's remains were found by campers in sand dunes at Red Cliff just over a month later.

Although a cause of death could not be determined, there were strong indications she had been brutally murdered.

"Twenty years on, I think it's a disgrace no information has come forward from the public," her dad Peter told The Daily Examiner yesterday.

"I think someone has to know something and is covering for someone."

At a coronial inquest into Lee's death in 2009, the officer formerly in command of the homicide investigation, Detective Senior Constable Tony King, said there was a possibility Anthony Charles Apps and convicted sex offender John George O'Leary had knowledge of circumstances surrounding Lee's disappearance.

Apps is currently serving a sentence in Goulburn Jail for the murder of acquaintance Christopher Lamb, who he shot in the back of the head in 2003.

He may be eligible for release this year.

A third person of interest, Gregory John Davis, was also named at the inquest.

To this day however, no arrests have been made in relation to Lee's suspected murder.

Unsolved homicide team coordinator Detective Chief Inspector Chris Olen said the investigation into the 1997 murder, under Strike Force Delaware, was currently being examined by detectives from the unsolved homicide team.

"Grafton detectives conducted a thorough investigation at the time, but despite pursuing numerous lines of inquiry, no one was charged with her murder," Det Ch Insp Olen said. …

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