true crime

Beauty queen Bronnie Richardson was abducted outside a church. Her killer is still out there.

Just after 7pm on Friday 12 October, 1973, Bronwynne Richardson was abducted outside a church. The 17-year-old was dragged from Smollett Street, Albury, into a green and white Holden station wagon.

Two days later, on the Sunday, her body was found in a lagoon just off the Murray River in southern New South Wales.

The person(s) responsible for her abduction and murder had physically and sexually assaulted her, before they dumped her naked body in the river.

A 1975 coronial inquest determined that Bronwynne died of strangulation and drowning.

Although four men have been charged in connection to the crime, none have been convicted for her murder.

Her killer has never been brought to justice.

what happened to Bronwynne Richardson
A photo of Smollett Street, Albury, where Bronwynne Richardson was abducted. Image: NSW Police.

On Friday morning, NSW Police announced that the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad are leading a renewed investigation.

To assist the inquiries, the state Government has increased the reward to $1 million for information concerning the murder of the Albury teenager over 40 years ago.

"We know she was dragged into the station wagon and later driven to a reserve off Howlong Road, about six kilometres west of Albury, where she was physically and sexually assaulted, before being thrown into the Murray River," Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Scott Cook, said.

"The vehicle itself has not been recovered, but we believe someone would have seen it. It’s a fairly remote area and we expect the driver had local knowledge," Det Supt Cook said.

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He continued: "There is someone out there who knows who is responsible for her death and we’re hoping this reward increase may prompt them to get in touch with police."

what happened to Bronwynne Richardson
Bronnie Richardson was 17 years old when she was raped an murdered in 1973. Image: NSW Police.

Bronwynne’s sister, Fiona Hume, also added comment in light of the reopened investigation, saying she hopes they are able to deliver justice.

"It’s been nearly 46 years since Bronnie died, and our family is still so devastated that we will never see or speak to her again," Fiona said in a statement.

"The day that Bronnie died shattered our family, shattered our mum and dad's hearts ... the impact has destroyed our family ... we grieve daily for Bronnie and the life that she never got to live.

"Bronnie was a beautiful teenage girl with her whole life ahead of her and it was cut short just before she was about to take part in the Belle of Belles Ball.

"We believe someone in the community knows what happened and has information about those involved in her death.

"Please come forward and speak to the police – now is the time to put things right," Fiona added.

The police clarified that the $1 million reward is available for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Bronwynne’s death.

This isn't the first time the case has been renewed, with it also reopening in 2008. In 2014, investigators arrested Colin Newey and charged him with the teenager's abduction, rape and murder. However, the charges were dropped just weeks before he was due to face court.

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