true crime

The 'new Teacher's Pet' delves into the mystery of another missing mother, Marion Barter.

The disappearance of Marion Barter is a case that has baffled NSW police for 22 years.

The Gold Coast teacher and mum of two was 51 years old when she abruptly resigned from her job in June 1997 and decided to take an overseas holiday. She’d told family and friends it was her dream to travel on the Orient Express.

Although her family received a few postcards and a couple of patchy phone calls from her shortly after she left, none of them have seen or heard from her since.

Video by Mamamia

Barter’s disappearance is now the focus of a 7NEWS podcast, heralded as the ‘new Teacher’s Pet’, in which investigative reporter Bryan Seymour, executive producer Alison Sandy and Marion’s daughter, Sally Leydon, delve into the mystery.

Sally tells the podcast that she grew concerned after not hearing from her mum, who was once married to Aussie soccer legend Johnny Warren, for a number of weeks.

She told the podcast: “I rang the bank… and said to the lady on the phone ‘my mum’s travelling overseas by herself, we haven’t heard from her in a while and… we are concerned for her. Can you check to see if she’s using her account’?

“The standard answer was ‘I’m really sorry, I can’t tell you anything due to privacy’ but then she paused and asked ‘Did you say your mum’s overseas?’, which I said yes to.

“And then she said ‘Oh my god, money is coming out of her account in Byron Bay’.”

Upon learning that thousands of dollars had been siphoned from Marion’s account in both Byron Bay in northern NSW and Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Sally reported her mum missing and police began to investigate.

But they found no trace of Marion.

The mystery deepened when Sally asked a friend working in customs to do a passport check on her mother.

“He told me that her passport had come back into Australia on August 2, 1997,” she said.

That was the day after Sally had last heard from her mother. This fact was later confirmed by police.

Sally just wants answers about what happened to her mother.

Sally said: "The police called me from Byron Bay a week later, I don’t remember the exact date. They told me they had found her and that she didn’t want anyone to know where she was or what she was doing."

Sally refused to accept this.

And 15 years later, there was another twist. Sally discovered that the name on Marion's passport had been changed to 'Florabella Remakel'.

"I didn’t find out the passport name change for a long time, until a new detective took over the case," she said. "I was shown a document and at the top of it you could see the name changes for Mum. (She had been married three times) so Wilson, then Warren, then Brown, then Barter, then this new name of Florabella Remakel.

"It said that was on her incoming customs card (in August 1997) and they had a photo of her passport and they had this photo of Florabella Remakel.

“The custom card said she was married, living in Luxembourg, coming to Australia only for three days.

“That was the first time I had heard of that, which I think was in 2011.”

The passport was issued before Marion left Australia for her European holiday.

It's Sally's belief that NSW police have not done enough to help find her mother and that there is chance there may have been foul play. She is taking part in the podcast with the hope of some answers.

She said: "If someone can prove to me she’s alive and well, I will accept it with open arms, and I can get on with my life."

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