Cold case reward boost offers hope to grieving families
Investigations into dozens of unsolved homicides and long-term suspicious missing persons cases will receive a boost with $64 million in reward money put on the table by the WA government.
Rewards will be standardised and increased to $1m for 64 unsolved historical cases dating back more than six decades, bringing fresh hope to grieving families.
Les and John Kessey's sister Lorraine disappeared after a night out in Perth's eastern suburbs in December 1977.
They hope the reward for information about their missing sister will lead to evidence or answers "so we can actually put her to rest".
"It's been 46 years and we think about her all the time," John told AAP.
Les said not knowing where his sister was "hurts me the most".
The brothers said Lorraine, who was 21, was last seen hitchhiking home after meeting friends for drinks.
"That's what they did in the '70s and that was it, that was last she was ever seen," Les said.
"We don't know if anything will come out of this but we hope it will and that someone has enough courage to come forward."
For 39 of the cases, which date back as far as 1958, it is the first time a reward has been offered and for 21 investigations an increase in money.
Four unsolved homicides or suspicious missing persons cases already had $1m rewards, reflecting the previous policy of offering different financial incentives for historical cases.
The new reward structure is for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
Police Minister Paul Papalia said every one of the 64 cases was as important as the next and standardising the rewards recognised this.
"The WA Police Force have always treated every case as equally as important (but) sadly our reward system has not reflected that approach," he said.
"It is a wrong that we are righting today.
"The financial incentive will hopefully ensure those responsible for these heinous crimes are brought to justice."
Police Commissioner Col Blanch said advances in forensic technology and the rewards would help solve the cases and bring closure to grieving families.
"There are people in our community who know who committed these crimes, who know what happened to these people," he said.
"Some of them may be close to the end of their own lives and want to tell police what happened."