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.