How detectives pieced together a case with almost no clues to find a killer.
The bag was picked up off Hope St in Melbourne by a local on the night she was killed. It was later returned to where it was found – presumably because the thief was afraid of being implicated in the murder – and discovered by police.
Meagher had been on the phone to her brother in early hours of September 22, but did not answer minutes later when he tried to call her back.
Police had no other evidence about what might have happened to the bright 29-year-old.
Meagher’s case quickly became a priority for the missing persons unit. Although she had been gone little over 24 hours, Meagher’s case was flagged as unusual because she had never gone missing before.
In his first interview since the arrest of Adrian Bayley, head detective Senior Sergeant Dave Butler says he had a bad feeling about the Meagher case immediately.
“There was just something about it,’’ Butler said. “With missing persons, you develop a sense for it. Something was just not right. Who she was, the overall circumstances, there was no history of going missing.’’
Butler and his team had little more than a sense to go on, however, with Butler describing their position at the beginning of the investigation as “working blind”.
Only days into the investigation, other detectives were starting to lose hope at ever piecing together such sparse evidence, but Butler refused to lose hope.
“If we do the little things well, somewhere along the way we will discover something,” he said.
Still, he admits he believed it would be months, not days or weeks, before his team made an arrest.
On the night on Monday, September 24, the focus of the investigation shifted from a missing person to a homicide. There had been no sign of Jill for 48 hours, and police had found nothing to indicate she was still alive.