Marilyn Wallman’s brothers Rex and David face the media two years ago. Picture: Daryl Wright
Marilyn Wallman’s brothers Rex and David face the media two years ago. Picture: Daryl Wright

Did ‘local man’ kill young Marilyn?

POLICE have revealed for the first time a "local man" is in the frame for one of Queensland's most enduring cold case mysteries - the 1972 murder of schoolgirl Marilyn Wallman.

Marilyn Wallman, pictured in 1972, was 14 when she disappeared.
Marilyn Wallman, pictured in 1972, was 14 when she disappeared.

Detectives yesterday said it was "crunch time" in the 46-year investigation, as a record reward of $500,000 was announced for information leading to a conviction.

Marilyn was 14 when she disappeared from the side of the road while riding her bike in the Mackay suburb of Eimeo.

She was a few minutes ahead of her two brothers, who were aged 8 and 11, when it is believed that she was ­grabbed and dragged into adjacent cane fields.

Her brothers came across her ­abandoned bike, its front wheel still spinning.

Skull fragments discovered in a nearby tip were, in recent years, confirmed as belonging to Marilyn.

In 2014, excavators dug up the yard of a fibro house in North Mackay, ­focusing on an area under a shed.

Her brothers came across her ­abandoned bike, its front wheel still spinning.
Her brothers came across her ­abandoned bike, its front wheel still spinning.

Detective Inspector Damien Hansen said police had one person of interest, but worried that with so many years gone by, those with information would be elderly or may have died.

"People aren't getting any younger, we'd seek them to come forward and listen to their conscience," he said.

"We do have a person of interest. They're not getting any younger. (The reward increase) is about that added incentive for them to come forward."

Indemnity from prosecution could also be offered for any accomplice who did not actually carry out the murder. Police said the person of ­interest still lived in the area.

Father of missing girl, Mr J Wallman, prepares to help searchers in an attempt to find his daughter Marilyn, 14, near Bucasia. 26/3/72
Father of missing girl, Mr J Wallman, prepares to help searchers in an attempt to find his daughter Marilyn, 14, near Bucasia. 26/3/72

Det Insp Hansen said that a cold case review that had taken place over the past four years had unearthed new information.

"We've certainly had a lot of information come forward from members of the public," he said.

"It has put us into a position where we are taking this extraordinary step in increasing the reward in the hope that final straw will come through."

Police Minister Mark Ryan said that the increased reward was the largest offered by the Queensland Government.

 

A picture taken on March 26, 1972 during an ariel search for Marilyn Wallman.
A picture taken on March 26, 1972 during an ariel search for Marilyn Wallman.

"Her family want to know what happened and who was responsible," Mr Ryan said.

"We're asking the community to help police with that ... the police have been working very hard the last 46 years to provide that justice for Marilyn."

In a past interview, Marilyn's brother Rex said he still visits the site where his sister disappeared to sit and think about her.

"Somebody had to have seen something … or at some stage of their life, told someone something," he said.

Rex Wallman's favourite photo of his sister, Marilyn.
Rex Wallman's favourite photo of his sister, Marilyn.


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