Police are hoping a new $ 1 million reward announced today will help solve the 1991 murder of Melbourne woman Amanda Byrnes.
The 23-year-old was last seen alive in the early hours of Sunday, April, 7 1991.
On the evening of Saturday, April 6, 1991, Amanda and her partner, both sex workers, were at their apartment in the Esquire Motel on Acland St in St Kilda.
They were preparing to head out to the usual area they worked together, which was around Acland, Carlisle and Barkly streets in St Kilda.
Usually they worked together for safety reasons, but on this night Amanda’s partner had a toothache and subsequently stayed home for a while longer.
Just after midnight, Amanda left the apartment, arranging to meet up with her partner soon after.
A short time later she was seen by a friend of hers at a phone box opposite the Shell service station on Barkly Street, and they spoke briefly before the friend left.
Amanda’s partner left home and headed to Acland St to meet up with her, but she was unable to find Amanda.
She searched for several hours before heading home and later reported Amanda missing to police.
On the morning of Sunday, April 7, 1991, two friends found Amanda’s body in a grassy area near the Elwood foreshore.
She was naked and had suffered fatal head injuries.
Despite police investigations over the past 30 years, no motive for Amanda’s murder has ever been established and no one has been charged.
Police are keen to speak to anyone who saw Amanda on the night of Saturday, April 6, 1991, or the early hours of Sunday, April 7, 1991 and are urging them to come forward.
She was last seen wearing black lycra leggings, a black lycra tube top, a navy blue fleecy zip-up top with a drawstring waist and a hood, black suede stilettos and black fingerless gloves.
She was carrying a tan colored soft leather bag, with a shoulder strap.
Her clothes and bag have never been recovered, apart from a single shoe which was found on Barkly St.
Panel van link to abduction, murder
Police believe a light-colored Morris Mini panel van was involved in Amanda’s murder, and her likely abduction from St Kilda.
A taxi driver reported hearing a loud band, which sounded like a vehicle collision at about the same time Amanda’s partner was out looking for her.
The taxi driver subsequently saw a light-colored Morris Mini panel van heading south along Barkly St, driving slowly and erratically.
Both he and a witness from a nearby home observed legs protruding from the front passenger door of the moving vehicle.
The second witness also noticed the passenger side door swinging open and shut.
That same night, a local security guard near the Wattie Watson Oval reported seeing a mini panel van enter the oval, traveling at speed.
He saw the vehicle travel down towards the vicinity of where Amanda’s body would be discovered the following morning.
Police are hoping today’s $ 1 million reward will encourage someone to come forward with information.
“It has been over 30 years since Amanda’s death, but I would like to strongly reinforce that this is both an active investigation, and one that we believe is solvable,” Detective Inspector Dean Thomas said.
“We have every reason to believe someone out there today knows what happened to Amanda and who is responsible.”
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