By JULIA ILES - The Daily Examiner
ON May 7, 1977, a 21-year-old brunette with hazel eyes, a guitar and a backpack full of clothes said goodbye to her friends in Grafton with dreams of travelling ? perhaps to Noosa.
But her plans were never made clear. Friends did not know for certain whether she was heading north or south.
But whatever dreams Narelle Mary Cox had as she hitch-hiked from Grafton on that fateful day were never realised.
She has been missing ever since.
Perhaps she was in search of the last wave of seventies sentiment.
Hitch-hiking was much more common in the 1970s, but still amounted to roadside roulette as hikers relied on the kindness or cruelty of strangers driving north. How far she got is not known. Almost 30 years after her disappearance the same questions remain for her family.
Narelle's disappearance was reported to Clarence detectives at the time, but the investigation which ensued has uncovered nothing.
It is thought the 165cm woman of medium build may have run across serial killer Ivan Milat, who was apt at picking up people on lonely stretches of road.
Detectives believe Milat was in the area at the time.
However, no evidence has been found linking Milat, who is serving seven consecutive life sentences for murder, to Narelle.
Until new evidence surfaces the disappearance of Narelle Mary Cox remains filed away as a cold case.
It is believed that for each person reported missing there are 12 people directly affected by their disappearance.
In Australia 30,000 people are reported missing each year with 10,000 from NSW.
According to the NSW Missing Persons Unit more than 99 per cent of missing persons are located, with 70 per cent found within three days and 86 per cent within two weeks.
National Missing Persons Week began on Sunday and will conclude on August 5.
Anyone who may have information about Ms Cox or any other missing person is asked to contact police.