News, Police Rounds

Renewed appeal on 1970 Grimmer disappearance

Cheryl Grimmer with her father Vince

IT has been more than 42 years since Cheryl Grimmer was snatched by an unknown man from Fairy Meadow Beach.

Police are renewing their appeal for information into the 1970 kidnapping of the Wollongong toddler as the NSW Government announces a $100,000 reward for information on the disappearance.

Cheryl was kidnapped from outside the change shed at Fairy Meadow Beach on Monday January 12 1970, where she was spending the day with her mother and three brothers.

Investigations since her disappearance have failed to find any trace of three year old girl. Witnesses at the time reported seeing a man leaving the beach with a child wrapped in a white blanket.

The man was described as being 30-40 years old, about 160cm to 168cm tall, with an olive complexion, and wearing orange swimming briefs, a grey hat, and a shirt. He left in a vehicle described as a Holden FC or FE. A ransom note and a lock of hair were later sent to Bulli Police Station.

Cheryl had a distinctive physical feature that made her belly button protrude about 10mm. If she is still alive and didn’t have it removed, it is believed this physical feature would still be visible.

NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher said he hoped the reward would solve the crime and bring closure for the family.

“This was a very brazen crime and one that has left detectives and indeed Cheryl’s family puzzled for several decades,” Mr Gallacher said.

“There is nothing more horrifying for a parent, than watching your child be snatched in front of you and not knowing what happened to her, Cheryl’s family deserves to know what happened and why,” he said.

A Coroner’s inquest at Wollongong Coroner’s Court in May 2011 concluded that Cheryl was deceased; however, who murdered the girl remains a mystery.

Officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Sergeant James Dark, said Cheryl’s family still suffer from the pain of not knowing.

“This was a child snatched from her family during broad daylight on a busy beach. Someone must have seen something at the time, and we are urging them to come forward,” Detective Sergeant Dark said.

“Cases like this are never closed until we find out what happened. Any information, no matter how small, can help put the puzzle together and bring us closer to a result,” he said.

Cheryl’s father, Vince, died eight years ago and her mother Carole is now extremely ill.

Stephen Grimmer, who was five at the time of his sister’s disappearance, told a media conference today that he had never let go of what happened.

“It’s hard sometimes, especially if I go back to Fairy Meadow Beach,” he said.

“You’re always staring at the beach, all the time looking around.”

Anyone who can assist with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Callers can remain anonymous.

About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


2 thoughts on “Renewed appeal on 1970 Grimmer disappearance

  1. Hi,
    The truth about Cheryl Grimmer as I remember,

    I was with 2 other boys , can’t remember their names, we were as young boys do looking through holes in the corrugated walls of the change room , perving I guess ,

    There was a lady getting changed into her bathers and as she was leaving a little girl with blonde hair came in ,either her or the lady was wearing a navy blue swim suit not sure which one.

    We were taking turns at the best holes when suddenly for some reason we all ran around the front of the change rooms , one of us had seen something but not sure what.

    At the front of the change rooms was a van with 2 back swinging doors that were open and a tall thin man who may have had a hat on standing at the back of the van with something rolled up , in the van it seemed darkish with rolls of something I beleive was carpet.

    The thing or words that have been burned into my mind are this .

    Me or one of the others asked him “What have you got in there Mister”
    His reply was ” What do you think” and with that threw the bundle in the back and we ran of.

    Many years later There was a description of a man wanted for questioning in the Mercury and for some reason I remebered and said that this was not the guy.

    Again some years later I saw and old newspaper advertisement with a man wearing suspenders and a hat standing at the side or back of a van and in my mind it was him, and the advert was for carpet.

    I have had a long time to go over what I think we saw that day and I still beleive that what I have said is what Happened.

    I know the witness accounts that I have read say they saw a man running through the car park with a young girl but that may have been his daughter , who knows.

    Hope there is something in what I have said and maybe it will help.

    No, Not another crackpot just a 52 year old man with a childhood memory I hope is not the truth.

    Paul Hurley


    Posted by Paul Hurley | September 22, 2012, 7:04 am
  2. Thanks for the comment Paul.
    I hope you have given this information to the police?
    I’m sure they would be interested.


    Posted by The Bulli Times | September 22, 2012, 7:35 pm

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