Two decades later, Bowen dig starts for Rachel’s body

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - KATE KYRIACOU

PO­LICE will to­day be­gin dig­ging at the Bowen tip where Rachel An­to­nio’s par­ents be­lieve their miss­ing daugh­ter’s re­mains are hid­den.

The ex­ploratory dig will at­tempt to ver­ify rub­bish in a spe­cific lo­ca­tion is from the same pe­riod of time as when Rachel dis­ap­peared.

The 16- year- old van­ished on An­zac Day in 1998 af­ter her mother dropped her off at the lo­cal cin­ema.

She is be­lieved to have been mur­dered and her dis­ap­pear­ance is one of Queens­land’s high­est- pro­file in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

For­mer tip man­ager Hugh Smith kept de­tailed di­aries of where he put the town’s rub­bish at the time Rachel dis­ap­peared and pro­vided po­lice with a hand- drawn map iden­ti­fy­ing the site of to­day’s dig.

Last year, a coro­ner found that Bowen Surf Life Sav­ing Club cap­tain Robert Hytch, who was 25 when Rachel dis­ap­peared, killed her and hid the body.

The coro­ner found the pair had been ro­man­ti­cally in­volved but kept their re­la­tion­ship a se­cret.

Rachel’s par­ents, Ian and Ch­eryl An­to­nio, be­lieve their daugh­ter’s body was left in a skip bin. De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Nikki Colfs said 10 of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing foren­sic po­lice from Bris­bane, would be in­volved in the one- day ex­ploratory dig.

Mrs An­to­nio said she and her hus­band were “glad” po­lice were be­gin­ning their search of the tip.

“It’s good news,” she said.

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