Search for answers after bone discovery in Ricketts Point

It’s nothing short of a mystery and detectives from the Missing Persons Squad are hoping that someone in the community has the answers.

On Thursday, 11 January 2018 two Parks Victoria staff members came across a large number of what appeared to be human bone fragments within the foreshore rock pools at Ricketts Point in Beaumaris.

They contacted police and with the tide steadily rising, crime scene officers quickly collected over 400 pieces of bone.

Search and Rescue members attended to assist with further searches of the area, however they were unable to find anything that would give them any clues about how the bones came to be in the pool.

That’s when the forensic process started.

Months of testing was carried out by staff at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. They were able to establish was that the bones were indeed human and believed to belong to a woman aged above 20 years, however extracting more specific information about her exact identity was proving difficult.

Examination of a recovered mandible bone also revealed that the back teeth on each side of the lower jaw were missing pre-death.

As with any incident where human remains are located, the Homicide Squad was notified and on this occasion the investigation was passed to the Missing Persons Squad.

Detectives believed that given the location of the bones and the changing tides, the bones were likely to have been only recently placed in the rock pools.

By who – and who the bones belonged to – was the mystery.

Investigators then began the process of reviewing all current and historic missing person files, hoping that one of these cases would match with the information forensic testing had been able to provide them.

They also contacted a large number of crematoriums to see if there was any possibility the bone fragments had been taken or requested by a loved one from one of those venues.

Sadly, the missing persons files provided no further leads and after liaising with the crematoriums, investigators were able to rule out any association there.

Forensic testing remains ongoing and police are hoping that a member of the public may hold the vital clue in solving this mystery.

Detective Sergeant Maurie Ryan of the Missing Persons Squad said the case is definitely unusual.

“Over the past 18 months we’ve done an enormous amount of work trying to determine exactly who this woman is,” he said.

“Was she left here by loved ones? Was she murdered? We just don’t know.

“The circumstances of these bones being located are certainly unusual, however we can’t definitively say that it’s suspicious at this stage.

“Some of the best forensic scientists in Victoria have examined these bones and while they have been able to provide us with some information, it alone hasn’t been enough to solve the case.

“That testing is continuing but we’re also keen to see if anyone in the community has answers for us.”

Police are today releasing images of the scene Ricketts Point showing where the bones were located.

Det Sgt Ryan said he was hopeful that as a result of this appeal, someone out there would be able to come forward and provide information to police.

“We’re interested in speaking to anyone who has information about how the bones came to be in rock pool, or who might have left them there and why,” he said.

“We’d also like to speak to anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in the area around the time the bones were discovered.

“There is definitely a story behind these bones and it’s one we want to know – and there will definitely be someone out there who can tell it to us.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppers.com.au

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