Search goes on
COTTESLOE Coastcare president Mike Ewing says a former Dutch Inn tea tree grove where police searched for evidence in the 1988 disappearance of 21-year-old Julie Cutler is a frequent dumping ground for stolen and unwanted property.
“It seems to be one of those places where people dispose of items that people get rid of when it’s stolen or from cars,” Mr Ewing said.
However, all of the stolen items, such as wallets, found by the volunteers in the past have been connected to other crimes and a 2002 police search of the dune found no evidence.
Last Tuesday, cold case police cut through roots and sifted sand from a 4m by 4m section of the dune near a tea tree stump to find any more property of Miss Cutler’s.
The new search followed friends and family identifying a purse and diary as hers after it was found partially buried at the dune in October 1996.
Mr Ewing said it was unlikely Coastcare’s planting disturbed belongings in the past 20 years because the work was conducted at shallow depths, but tea trees had been cut down and dug up by the council about five years ago.
Ms Cutler’s Fiat car with a crushed roof was found on June 22, 1988, near the Cottesloe Beach surf break about 1km north of Dutch Inn.
She was reported missing after leaving a staff function at the Parmelia Hilton Hotel several days earlier.
“This search is a result of some items dismissed in 1997 as not being Julie’s which now may be Julie’s,” Detective-sergeant Gailene Hamilton said last week.
The items were destroyed by police as part of normal procedure later.
In June police appealed for information about the disappearance, including a $250,000 reward.
■ Call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.