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Rachel Antonio: Police may search Bowen dump for schoolgirl's remains, nearly 20 years on.

By Allyson Horn.

Any search of a north Queensland dump for the remains of suspected murder victim Rachel Antonio will be complicated and difficult, police say.

Queensland police confirmed they were exploring the possibility of searching a Bowen refuse site — a site that was not searched when Rachel disappeared on Anzac Day in 1998, aged 16.

A coronial inquest last year found Rachel had been killed by her boyfriend at the time, Robert Hytch,

Rachel’s family have always wanted the tip searched for her remains but police said it was not viable.

That was until recently when they received new information about the layout of the tip at the time of Rachel’s disappearance.

Rachel’s father Ian Antonio said it was a breakthrough for the case.

“A body could quite easily be resting there,” he said

“Everywhere in Bowen I know of has been searched and that’s the only place that hasn’t been searched.

“The more you think about it, the more likely a place it could be.”

Mr Antonio said his family would never stop looking for answers.

“Prior to a couple of months ago we’d given up all hope of ever searching the tip,” he said.

“Now we’ve got the exact area, the exact location, it’s not a big area, they can search down there with relative ease.”

Information being collected on search’s viability

Police said they would now take soil samples to see if the dump site was stable enough to continue with a full excavation.

Officers would also have to test if there would have been too much decomposition.

Detective Inspector Nikki Colfs said police visited the dump on Wednesday to collect more information on the search’s viability.

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“Every single enquiry needs to be run out, because it’s really pertinent that the family get every bit of closure that they can get,” she said.

“The feasibility relates to the lay of the land 20 years ago, exactly the dimensions of where the rubbish was positioned.

“There’s quite a bit involved in actually obtaining the maps, diagrams.

“By no means would we [police] sit back and leave a family suffering as they have been for 20 years if we actually knew where she was disappeared to, or where her remains could be located.”

Meanwhile, Hytch is to appeal the coroner’s findings.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.


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