A pink cardigan found in the garden of missing mother-of-two Lynette Dawson’s former home could hold crucial clues to her disappearance, an expert said.
Independent forensic scientist, Helen Roebuck, believes the rogue torn up garment found in 1998 might yield valuable DNA if screened using advanced modern testing.
The clothing item was described by Mrs Dawson’s friends as her favourite piece – a fact Ms Roeback thought was no coincidence.
‘That’s really significant, because you don’t find items of clothing strewn around, buried in the ground, with that kind of damage to them,’ Ms Roebuck told The Australian’s podcast series The Teacher’s Pet.
The cardigan was found by an officer next to a swimming pool in the front yard of Mrs Dawson’s home on Gilwinga Drive in Bayview, on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Ms Roebuck has volunteered her time to get to the bottom of the sliced up cardigan mystery, with it discovered 16 years after Mrs Dawson’s disappearance.
‘The techniques we’re using today in the standard DNA laboratories in Australia are really incredibly sensitive,’ she said.
‘So just because this item has previously been tested for DNA using mitochondrial systems and failed, doesn’t mean that there is nothing there to be detected.’
Mrs Dawson was last seen at Mona Vale on Sydney’s Northern Beaches in January 1982. Her last contact with her family was six days before her disappearance.
Two separate coroners’ inquires in 2001 and 2003 found Mrs Dawson was murdered by her husband – former Newtown Jets rugby league star Chris Dawson – but he was never charged and insists he is innocent.
Sports teacher Mr Dawson was having an affair with one of his 16-year-old pupils, his babysitter Joanne Curtis, at the time.
When the pair broke up in 1990, she urged police to search around the swimming pool of the house.
It was in 1998, one officer found remains of Mrs Dawson’s favourite cardigan, which had been sliced with a knife – but no body was discovered.
Despite numerous police appeals for information, the case remains a mystery.
Mr Dawson now lives in Noosa, Queensland with his third wife.