'My mum burst into tears.' The moment Lyn Dawson's family learnt of Chris Dawson's arrest.

Today, almost 37 years since mother-of-two Lynette Dawson was last seen alive, her husband Chris Dawson has been arrested for her murder.

According to NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, who spoke to 9News on Wednesday morning, “additional evidence was identified” that led the Department of Public Prosecutions to “make a positive decision in prosecuting an individual for the murder of Lyn Dawson”.

The Commissioner referenced “two additional statements” that helped “tie pieces of the puzzle together”.

Dawson, he said, “came quietly with police” on Wednesday morning, and now faces extradition to Sydney where he will be charged for the murder of his wife.

For the family of Lyn Dawson – her daughters, Shanelle and Sherryn, her sister, Pat, her brother, Greg, her sister-in-law, Merilyn, and her niece, Renee – it has no doubt been an emotional morning. This is a day they had thought might never come.

Speaking to Mamamia on Wednesday morning, Renee Simms said she was “still in shock” after hearing the news of the arrest.

She said her family got a “heads up” before news broke. “The police detective who’s in charge of the case called my Mum and Dad, and then they immediately hung up with them and called my brother and I to let us know,” she said.

Listen to Mia Freedman interview the host of The Teacher’s Pet podcast, Hedley Thomas.

Renee’s parents have made a point of saying they didn’t want to find out about any major developments in the case via the news.

Police, however, couldn’t tell the family of Lyn Dawson what new evidence had lead to the arrest. Renee explained that the Department of Public Prosecutions may have just “had a more thorough look at the case, and… worked out I guess what the rest of us have seen”.


In 2001 and 2003, two separate coronial inquests concluded Lynette was murdered by her husband, but Chris Dawson has never been charged for the crime.

Renee said her father, Lyn’s brother Greg Simms, was “thrilled” by the news, and that her mother “burst into tears” when she heard. They’re “quite emotional,” she said.

The family are particularly grateful to Hedley Thomas, the journalist behind the podcast The Teacher’s Pet, which investigated the case of Lyn Dawson and uncovered new evidence about her disappearance and probable murder.

“What he has done…” Renee said, “has been everything”.

“I think without Hedley, today wouldn’t have happened. He has just made this case so public that it’s put so much pressure on the authorities. He’s just made all the evidence so public.

“All of you as well,” Renee added, “who have kept reporting on this and kept it in the public eye. All of you have helped.”

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller this morning made special mention of Detective Dan Poole, who has “worked tirelessly gathering evidence” for the past three years – an investigation which resulted in the submission of a fresh brief of evidence to the DPP.

Hopefully now, almost 40 years after Lyn Dawson went missing, her family can find some peace in their tragedy.

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