Police reopen ‘skeleton in forest’ case in effort to finally catch killer


WA Police Cold Case Squad investigators will re-examine the unsolved death of 19-year-old teenager Annette Deverell, who went into town to buy some smokes one Saturday night in September 1980 and never returned home.

The bubbly and popular teenager’s body was found in bushland nearly two years later, with one newspaper naming her “The Skeleton in the Forest”.

Annette was a typical teenager from the small coastal town of Mandurah, 70km south of Perth.

To have fun, Annette and her friends would hang out at the pub, go to house parties and do bog laps of the town.

Everyone knew everyone.

And Annette’s family and friends believe she knew the person or people responsible for her death.

Annette Deverell went missing in 1980. Her body was found nearly two years later.Source:Supplied

In December, the WA government attached a $250,000 reward for information that could lead to solving the case.

They also offered immunity from prosecution if the informant was not directly responsible for Annette’s death.

WA Police Cold Case Squad Detective Sergeant Steve Maybury told News Corp Australia the detailed review would be a two-pronged approach.

“I’ve spent the last month going through files,” he said.

“We have commenced preparation into the review where we’ll go through all of the police actions to date.

“We’ll check if there are any further inquiries related to those actions. Anything we would do today that we would expect to have been done back then.”

Detective Sergeant Maybury said the review phase would take three to six months, followed by a new police investigation.

“You can imagine in this particular case there are a lot of people involved,” he said.

“A lot of potential suspects. We encourage people to get in touch if they have any information.”

Police have reopened the cold case into the death of Annette Deverell.

Police have reopened the cold case into the death of Annette Deverell.Source:Supplied

He said the first stage of the review would commence later this year.

Annette’s mother Margaret Carver said she was “over the moon”.

“It’s great news,” she said. “It gives us hope that we might finally get answers now.

“It’s been a long time, not knowing what happened to my daughter. She was my best friend.

“I want to know what happened before I die.”

Mrs Carver still lives in the town her daughter died, and keeps her ashes close by in her home.

The case still baffles investigators with key events remaining a mystery.

Police say Annette was last seen with a young “surfy-type blonde” near the local post office on the night she disappeared. This man has never been identified.

And Annette’s handbag was found in Pinjarra bushland a few months after her remains were found.

Mrs Carver said the bag was in perfect condition, despite being in the bush for almost two years, and said it could have been dumped by the killer.

Hear more about the mysterious death of Annette Deverell on the podcast Annette: Cold Case Unlocked , available on Apple podcasts.



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