Marilyn Wallman dissappeared on March 21, 1972.
Marilyn Wallman dissappeared on March 21, 1972. Daily Mercury Archives

Family 'desperately need someone to come forward'

DNA tests on skull fragments found near Mirani about two years after Mackay schoolgirl Marilyn Wallman went missing are inconclusive.

The fragments were sent to New Zealand in February for testing but no result could be obtained.

Detective Inspector Karyn Murphy said they were unable to get anything further from the New Zealand tests.

"Investigations are still continuing," she said.

The tests weren't able to determine if the skull belonged to Marilyn or not, Det Insp Murphy said.

It has been a hard year for the Wallman family.

A police dig in the backyard of a North Mackay house, done about the same time as the skull was sent overseas in February, also failed to find new evidence.

Fourteen-year-old Marilyn went missing on March 21, 1972, while riding her bike to catch a school bus on Eimeo Rd.

Her brother Rex Wallman remembers seeing her abandoned bike and hearing muffled screams from a nearby cane paddock.

Mr Wallman said it was frustrating not being able to get any information from the DNA testing.

"Unfortunately, the results came back with no further information to help us out, so we'll keep working along with the police now to see what else we can do."

He said it was very disappointing not knowing one way or the other.

"It's just another one of those stumbling blocks we need to get over and keep going I guess," he said.

There are hopes that with advances in DNA testing, the identity of the skull fragments may be able to be determined in the future.

Mr Wallman said testing was improving all the time.

"We're just hoping as technology improves we'll be able to do further testing down the track," he said.

"We're hoping that the improvements come quickly for us and we'll find out one way or the other."

The next step for the family is to continue working with the police.

"We desperately need someone to come forward," Mr Wallman said. "We firmly believe that somebody out there knows something. It was only a small little area back in those days so somebody must have seen something."

 

Timeline

  • 7.42am: Marilyn Joy Wallman, 14, left home on a bicycle and began her ride to the Rural Youth Hall, at the junction of Wallman and Eimeo Road in Mackay, to catch the school bus at 8am.
  • 7.52am: Marilyn's two brothers Rex and David Wallman left home, following the same route as their sister. The brothers found Marilyn's bicycle and school port by the side of the road approximately one kilometre from home.
  • 7.53am: David Wallman raced home and returned with his mother while Rex Wallman waited on the roadside near Marilyn's abandoned bike. Rex Wallman heard "muffled screams" from the other side of a nearby cane paddock while he waited.
  • 8am: David, Rex and Daphne Wallman split-up to search for Marilyn. The brothers walked to a creek nearby and discovered two sets of tracks leading through long grass.Shortly after Marilyn was kidnapped: Community members arrived to help with the search, trampling any evidence of tracks.
  • Later that day: Police arrived to begin their investigation. The case was first treated as a disappearance and later changed to a murder investigation.
  • 1974: Part of a skull is found in Mirani. Police would not comment on reports that the skull belonged to Marilyn.
  • July 19, 2011: Police investigate new leads into the case, renewing the family's hope that Marilyn would be found. A police spokesman said a number of people were being investigated but would not reveal any other details.
  • June, 2012: Marilyn's family launches a Facebook page to encourage the public to come forward with any information about the case.


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