news

Quanne Diec case: Police search for body after man charged with Sydney girl's 1998 murder.

Police have begun to search a property in Sydney’s west hoping to find the body of a missing 12-year-old schoolgirl, who disappeared 18 years ago.

Officers said old-fashioned detective work led to a man being charged yesterday with the murder of Quanne Diec.

Vinzent Tarantino, 49, did not apply for bail and it was formally refused when he appeared in Sydney’s Central Local Court charged with murder, detaining a person for advantage and possessing a knife.

He lived in the same suburb as the missing girl.

Against the advice of his solicitor, Tarantino made a statement to the court alleging his brother and partner had been murdered in retaliation for what he’d done.

Quanne is believed to have been abducted on her way to school from her Granville home in 1998.

A search of a residence for Quanne’s remains is underway today.

Police won’t say how Quanne died

At a media conference in Sydney, Superintendent Scott Whyte from Rosehill Local Area Command said the man charged was not known to the 12-year-old.

He said he hoped police would get assistance from the accused in being able to recover Quanne’s remains.

Superintendent Whyte declined to give many details about exactly what had happened to Quanne almost two decades ago, although he did say police believed she was alive for only a short time after she was abducted.

“We do have an idea of how it’s played out but obviously because of matters before the court, I certainly won’t be going into any specifics of that today,” he said.

In 1999, the NSW Government increased the reward being offered for information leading to the location of Quanne, from $100,000 to $200,000.

Superintendent Whyte was asked by reporters if the reward was being claimed.

“I think it’s important to reiterate that the 49-year-old man was the suspect in this matter. He attended the police station as a result of the investigation that these outstanding investigators were conducting,” he said.

“No, he is not trying to claim this reward.

“We are still certain there are people out there who can assist us with this investigation so we have asked them to come forward and assist us.”

He appealed to the media to allow the missing girl’s parents privacy in the wake of the development.

He also said the man was known to police and that they had never given up on finding Quanne.

“This investigation has been going since 1998. The investigators have interviewed and re-interviewed,” Superintendent Whyte said.

“The NSW Police just never give up hope and their outstanding work has led directly to this man being charged last night.”

He said police had not ruled out further arrests.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

© 2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here