Human remains found in Byron Bay identified as missing woman Thea Liddle

Thea Liddle was last seen in Moobal in Far North NSW, last October. Her family reported her missing in January.

Thea Liddle was last seen in Moobal in Far North NSW, last October. Her family reported her missing in January.Credit:NSW Police

State Crime Commander Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said investigators from the Tweed and Byron Police District had been reviewing their initial investigation into Ms Liddle’s disappearance under the unsolved homicide framework when they identified information about the Byron Bay bushland where she may have been residing.

“As a result, a coordinated search was conducted of the area and human remains were located, which were then analysed by forensic experts at NSW Health Pathology,” he said.

“It is this coordinated approach – both within the [police force] and with our partner agencies – that is seeing answers provided to more families and, in many cases, far quicker than we ever have before.”

The discovery comes ahead of Missing Persons Week, an annual national campaign beginning on Sunday that raises awareness about the issues and impact surrounding missing people.

But Tweed and Byron Police District Commander Superintendent Dave Roptell said the circumstances of Ms Liddle’s death remained under investigation.

“While the positive identification of these remains is a good result for [detectives] it is also devastating news to Thea’s family and friends,” he said.

“We are urging anyone in the community who may have seen or spoken to Thea in late October or early November last year, in and around the Far North Coast, to please come forward.”

When Ms Liddle’s remains were found last month, Superintendent Roptell said the woman had lived a “very transient lifestyle”.

“Shifting from place to place, changing campsites often and would opt for places in remote bushland away from the public,” he said.

“It wasn’t uncommon for Thea to travel throughout the Far North Coast.”

Ms Liddle’s remains were found close to the Cape Byron area where missing Belgian teenager Theo Hayez’ mobile phone last pinged before he disappeared in May 2019.

But Superintendent Roptell last month said the disappearance of Ms Liddle and Mr Hayez in close proximity was “completely coincidental” and there was not evidence to suggest a person in the area was preying on homeless people.

Anyone with information about Ms Liddle’s death has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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