Belinda Shirley PEISLEY

          reward_Belinda_Peisley    Belinda Peisley with one of her sons.PHOTO: Belinda Peisley with one of her sons.

Belinda Peisley, who went missing in the Blue Mountains 20 years ago, and one of her children.

Belinda Peisley

 

She wanted to be a model ... Belinda Peisley. Belinda Peisley, aged 15.   Image result for belinda peisley

Above - Belinda at 15

 Belinda Peisley with child.(Supplied)

 

 

 Belinda Peisley     

  Belinda with her sons as infants                                  and son Cody Peisley today, with Belinda's Dad

                           

Above - Cody Peisley and Billy Moffett with their mother's ex-partner Andrew Moffett and her father Mark Wearne / Pic: Justin Lloyd Source: The Daily Telegraph

The home where Belinda Peisley lived before she disappeared in September 1998. 

The home where Belinda Peisley lived before she disappeared in September 1998. Photo: Shane Desiatnik/Blue Mountains Gazzette

One of the pieces of underwear found underneath Belinda Peisley's former home in Katoomba.One of the pieces of clothing found underneath Belinda Peisley's former home in Katoomba. One of the pieces of clothing found underneath Belinda Peisley's former home in Katoomba.

Clothing located under Belinda's home in police search

 

 

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/who-killed-belinda-peisley-uncovered

 

 

Name:  Belinda Shirley PEISLEY Sex: Female
Date of Birth: 1979    
Age when missing: 19 Height (cm): 170.0 Build: Thin
Hair Colour: Brown Eye Colour: Blue/Grey Complexion: Medium
Nationality:   Racial Appearance: Caucasian    
Circumstances - Belinda Peisley was last seen in Katoomba, NSW on the 26th September 1998.

Katoomba woman's disappearance reopened

15:03 AEST Sun Nov 28 2010 - Nine MSN
 

A young mum who went missing from her NSW home 12 years ago had inherited a substantial amount of money and her suspicious disappearance may be drug-related, police fear.

Police have reopened the case of 19-year-old Belinda Peisley who was last seen at her Trow Avenue home in Katoomba, west of Sydney, on September 26, 1998.

Ms Peisley had two young sons - aged three and one - at the time.

"Despite significant inquiries, no trace of Belinda has ever emerged, although police are convinced she met with foul play," police said in a statement on Sunday.

"Two years before her disappearance, Belinda inherited a substantial amount of money and was able to buy her Trow Ave home outright.

"Police investigations revealed she had begun associating with a number of people involved with illicit drugs in the months before she vanished and have not ruled out Belinda's disappearance may have been drug related.

"Despite significant inquiries, no trace of Belinda has ever emerged, although police are convinced she met with foul play."

On Sunday, Ms Peisley's father Mark Werne appealed for help to find out what happened to his daughter.

"Belinda was only just beginning her life and had two beautiful sons who she loved," Mr Werne said.

"Of course, we would like to hold out some hope but deep down the family has accepted that Belinda is gone.

"But until we know for sure, this will continue to haunt her sons and the rest of my family.

"It is an unimaginably cruel situation for my grandsons who never really got to know their mum.

"For their sake, I would ask anyone who knows what happened to Belinda to contact police and give this family a chance to lay things to rest and have some peace."

Blue Mountains police local area commander Acting Superintendent Mick Bostock said a female witness - who was one of the last people to see Belinda - returned to the Katoomba house with detectives on Friday (November 26) to explain what she saw in the hope of triggering new leads in the investigation.

"New witnesses have come forward in recent weeks with fresh information about her last months and we are slowly fitting together a number of pieces to this puzzle," he said in the statement.

"A 37-year-old woman who saw Belinda shortly before she vanished recalls attending the Trow Avenue home and finding it ransacked.

"It is likely Belinda was the victim of a drug-related incident and we are pursuing a number of fresh leads that will, hopefully, shed some light on her fate."

Police reopen investigation into suspicious disappearance of teenaged mum – SF Belonidae

Sunday, 28 Nov 2010 09:33am

Police have re-opened an investigation into the suspicious disappearance of a teenaged mum from her Katoomba home in 1998.

Belinda Peisley had inherited a substantial amount of money prior to her disappearance and was last seen at her Trow Avenue home in Katoomba on 26 September, twelve years ago.

The 19-year-old woman had two young sons at the time aged three and one years. She has never been seen since.

Despite significant inquiries, no trace of Belinda has ever emerged, although police are convinced she met with foul play.

Two years before her disappearance Belinda inherited a substantial amount of money and was able to buy her Trow Ave home outright.

Police investigations revealed she had begun associating with a number of people involved with illicit drugs in the months before she vanished and have not ruled out Belinda’s disappearance may have been drug related.

Blue Mountains LAC Commander, Acting Superintendent Mick Bostock, said a female witness – who was one of the last people to see Belinda – returned to the Katoomba house with detectives on Friday (26 November) to give an account of what she saw in the hope of triggering new leads in the investigation.

“New witnesses have come forward in recent weeks with fresh information about her last months and we are slowly fitting together a number of pieces to this puzzle,” A/Supt Bostock said.

“A 37-year-old woman who saw Belinda shortly before she vanished recalls attending the Trow Avenue home and finding it ransacked.

“It is likely Belinda was the victim of a drug-related incident and we are pursuing a number of fresh leads that will hopefully shed some light on her fate.”

Belinda’s father, Mark Werne, appealed to anyone with any additional information to come forward.

“Belinda was only just beginning her life and had two beautiful sons who she loved,” Mr Werne said.

“Of course we would like to hold out some hope but deep down the family has accepted that Belinda is gone.

“But until we know for sure, this will continue to haunt her sons and the rest of my family.

“It is an unimaginably cruel situation for my grandsons who never really got to know their mum.

“For their sake I would ask anyone who knows what happened to Belinda to contact police and give this family a chance to lay things to rest and have some peace.”

Sons of missing woman Belinda Peisley appeal for help

The family of missing Katoomba woman Belinda Peisley made a new appeal for information this morning.

Her two sons, Cody Peisley, 16, Billy Moffett, 14, her father William Wearne and ex-partner Andrew Moffett pleaded for anyone with information to come forward.

The brothers were aged just three and one when their mother Belinda Peisley vanished from her Trow Ave, Katoomba home on September 26, 1998.

Minister for Police, Michael Gallacher, says police have a number of persons of interest, but are asking for the public's assistance with information.
 

"There were a number of people Belinda associated with prior to her disappearance and we believe that either one or more of them have knowledge about what happened to Belinda," he said.

The appeal comes as the News South Wales State Government today announced a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Mr Wearne described Belinda as a "good kid", and asked anyone with information to contact crime stoppers or Springwood detectives.

Ms Peisley was 19 when she disappeared and was last seen on September 26, 1998, at her Katoomba home. It is believed she met with foul play.

Brothers hope $100,000 offer will end missing mystery of missing mum Belinda Peisley

CODY Peisley was three and his brother Billy just one when their mother Belinda Peisley disappeared from Katoomba in 1998.

Now 16 and 14, they just want to know what happened to her.

The boys hope a $100,000 reward announced yesterday will finally bring them answers, then they can "at least try to move on", Cody said.

"It's about actually knowing what happened," he said.

Ms Peisley's father William Wearne said his daughter's disappearance had been particularly hard on his grandsons.

"William, I doubt he would even remember his mother, and Cody, barely," he said.

"Any questions they have about their mother, they have to ask a third party rather than knowing her."

Mr Wearne said his daughter was a "good kid" who loved her children.

He said the family - including her former partner Andrew Moffett - won't have closure until they know what happened to her. "Everyone says: 'You've got to get on with your life and you've got to go forward' but it's always in the back of your head ... every single day," he said.

Ms Peisley was just 19 when she left her Katoomba home on September 26, 1998, and police believe she met with foul play.

She had received an inheritance but police said a drug addiction had left her in debt.

Acting Superintendent Robert Vellar urged anyone with information to come forward.

"They might be scared, they might be apprehensive about speaking with police, but they may also be protecting other people. "This is an opportunity to come forward, to clear their conscious and help police solve this matter," he said.

Disappearance of Belinda Peisley

 

Police are renewing an appeal for information into the disappearance of a Blue Mountains teenager after the NSW State Government announced an award for information that may help solve the case.

Nineteen-year-old Belinda Peisley was last sighted at her home on Trow Avenue, Katoomba, on 26 September 1998. Officers from Blue Mountains Local Area Command established Strike Force Belonidae to investigate her disappearance.

Blue Mountains Local Area Commander, Acting Superintendent Rob Vellar, says that police attached to the Strike Force have conducted extensive inquiries, but need further public assistance.

“Police have identified a number of persons of interest and followed numerous lines of inquiry.

“Our investigations have revealed that Belinda received a considerable inheritance prior to her death, and that as a result she had many people frequenting her residence.
“She had also developed a significant drug problem and had accumulated considerable debt.

“We believe she met with foul play but need more information from the public to put the pieces of the puzzle together and make a breakthrough,” Acting Superintendent Vellar said.

When Ms Peisley disappeared, she left behind two sons, who are now aged 16 and 14.

In the hope of receiving new information, the NSW State Government has today announced a reward of up to $100,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the disappearance, and presumed murder, of Belinda Peisley.

Anyone with information that can assist investigators should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Peisley disappearance linked to break-ins

Paul Bibby -  SMH - Court Reporter

Police have uncovered crucial new information about the mysterious death of a young mother in 1998, suggesting it may have been related to a string of drug-related break and enter offences by people she knew.

Belinda Peisley, 19, was last seen leaving Katoomba Hospital, west of Sydney, on September 26, 1998. Her remains have never been found.

For more than 13 years police attempted to uncover what had happened to the young woman, but found little solid evidence beyond the fact that, shortly before her disappearance, the 19-year-old had inherited a significant amount of money.

But the coronial inquest into Ms Peisley's death - resuming on Tuesday after a five-month break - heard that "significant new information had come to light" following "significant further investigation".

The inquest, at Katoomba local court, heard that there had been a number of drug-related break-ins around the time of Ms Peisley's disappearance, in which property had been stolen from homes around Katoomba and then sold to pawnshops in western Sydney.

A number of these break-ins were allegedly undertaken by some of Ms Peisley's friends, most notably her former boyfriend Oliver Tipping and his friend Jeremy Douglas.

The inquest heard that, shortly after Ms Peisley disappeared, the woman who was part of the alleged break and enter racket, Joanne Thompson, had used identification cards belonging to Ms Peisley when selling the stolen goods to pawnshops.

"Oliver [Tipping] told me in a conversation that Joanne was using her [Belinda's] ID," a friend of the alleged robbers, Shane Heffernan, told the inquest.

A distinctive maroon Jaguar belonging to one of the men was also seen outside Ms Peisley's house around the time of her disappearance.

Mr Heffernan said this car belonged to Jeremy Douglas and had been obtained with "money from a break and enter".

Police said last week that they now believe Ms Peisley was murdered, and that they have begun searching bushland at Blackheath, near Katoomba.

The inquest, before Deputy NSW Coroner Paul McMahon, continues.

 

Missing mother Belinda Peisley was most likely murdered, inquest told

 

Paul Bibby - SMH

A young Blue Mountains mother who disappeared in suspicious circumstances 15 years ago most likely died as a result of homicide or violence, the Coroners Court has heard, but there is insufficient evidence to charge any of those suspected of involvement.

Belinda Peisley, 19, was last seen leaving Katoomba Hospital, west of Sydney, on September 26, 1998. Her remains have never been found.

At the end of the day, someone hurt Belinda but they're still out there living their life and they've taken hers. 

For more than 13 years police attempted to uncover what had happened to the young woman, but found little solid evidence beyond the fact that, shortly before her disappearance, the mother-of-two had inherited a significant amount of money from her great uncle and had developed a heroin addiction.

But in late 2012, investigators uncovered new information suggesting the young woman may have been the victim of foul play within the group of young people she was spending time with, many of them drug users. An inquest into Ms Peisley's death was initiated and police began searching a large swath of bush land near Blackheath.

The inquest heard that a few days after her death, Ms Peisley's house was broken into by a number of her former friends and acquaintances, who later used her identification cards to sell items at a western Sydney pawn shop.

Two of the 19-year-old's former friends - Jeremy Douglas and Saxon Holdforth - became "persons of interest" at the inquest, with the scrutiny on their activities intensifying.

The inquest received evidence from multiple witnesses suggesting that Ms Peisley had been killed and thrown off one of the Blue Mountains' many cliff edges.

"Some of the things I have heard over the years is that Jeremy, Saxon and Olly [Peisley's former boyfriend Oliver Tipping] took her in a car and bashed her and left her somewhere,"  Kerren Fittler said in a handwritten statement to police.

"After they've left her they've come back and got her body and done some things to her before or after she was dead and chucked her over the cliff.

"I heard she was killed over drugs or she wouldn't give them what they wanted."

Mr Holdforth and Mr Douglas have steadfastly maintained their innocence at the inquest.

On Wednesday, counsel assisting the inquest, Phillip Strickland, SC, said the evidence relating to the exact manner and cause of the young woman's death was inconclusive, but that it did "point strongly to her death being the result of some sort of homicide or violence".

"Much of the hearing has been directed towards whether these persons of interest had knowledge of or direct involvement in the circumstances surrounding Belinda Peisley's death," he said.

"The evidence regarding these persons is inconclusive and not capable of convincing a jury that a known person committed an indictable offence."

Speaking after the hearing, Ms Peisley's aunt, Sharon Versace said she was "very, very disappointed" that charges would not be laid.

"At the end of the day, someone hurt Belinda but they're still out there living their life and they've taken hers," she said.

"I'll never give up, the detectives have come so far - I'm hoping that one day we'll get some good news. It won't bring Belinda back, but it will be a bit of justice for the family."

Deputy State Coroner Paul McMahon will hand down his formal findings next month.


 

Belinda Peisley disappearance - father Mark Wearne's plea for answers 20 years on

It’s been 20 years since 19-year-old Belinda Peisley disappeared from Katoomba and her family still has no answers.

It took eight years for the police to report Ms Peisley’s death to the coroner, and in 2012 a coroner’s inquiry found she died in or around Katoomba, but couldn’t say how. The case was referred to the Unsolved Homicide Unit for re-investigation.

Ms Peisley was last seen on September 26, 1998 and her remains have never been found. She had inherited a significant amount of money before her disappearance, and was addicted to heroin.

An ABC documentary Who Killed Belinda Peisley? which airs on August 7 during national missing persons week, raises more questions about her disappearance.
 

Ms Peisley’s father Mark Wearne, who is part of the film, told the Gazette he didn’t believe his daughter’s disappearance had been adequately investigated.
 

“There are questions this documentary will not answer and there are holes it leaves. Did the police – the homicide squad – look at any other persons of interest? Were all these people’s [persons of interest] alibis tested?”

He said there also could be a link between the disappearance of Leura woman Maureen McLaughlin in 1992 (her body was found in Lithgow later that year) and Kellie Carmichael from Geelong who was last seen in a Katoomba hostel in 2001.
 

“They were women of similar age and similar social situation and were all travelling in the same circles,” Mr Wearne said.

“The common thread is the drug scene in Katoomba.
 

“Was there a serial killer operating in the Blue Mountains at the time?”
 

Mr Wearne said he has not been contacted by the homicide squad since 2013.

“There is so much that could have been done,” he said. “It’s been very difficult”.

Mr Wearne raised one of Ms Peisley’s two sons, Cody, until he turned 16 and, Mr Wearne recalls him frequently asking what happened to his mother and when he would see her again.

“How do you tell a six-year-old that, that there’s a strong possibility that his mother’s been murdered? … I evaded the subject when he was very young.”

Documentary-maker Helen Barrow followed the case for more than seven years, taking her cameras into the homes and lives of Ms Peisley’s family, neighbours, friends, witnesses and persons of interest, and into the courtroom each day of the inquest, to follow her story. 

“We started filming in 2012 and 2013 and the coroner and counsel assisting agreed to further filming in 2018, and the NSW police declined to be involved in the documentary,” Ms Barrow said.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said: “Despite extensive investigations and numerous ground searches by local police and the Homicide Squad over the years, Belinda has not been located. 

“Investigators identified numerous persons of interest and explored various lines of inquiry, which were tested during a coronial inquiry. 
 

“The investigation into Belinda’s disappearance and suspected murder will be formally reviewed under the new unsolved framework in coming months.” 
 

A $100,000 reward remains in place for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Ms Peisley’s disappearance.
 

Mr Wearne has appealed for anyone with information, no matter how trivial, to come forward. Call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

'Items found' in police dig under Katoomba home of missing teen Belinda Peisley

By Jenny Noyes - SMH
Updated

Forensic officers have found "items of interest" just hours into a forensic excavation and search at the former home of a Blue Mountains woman who went missing more than 20 years ago.

Police started digging with shovels under the former home of Belinda Peisley on Monday morning and are planning to divide the large backyard into sections and start digging it up on Tuesday.

By Monday afternoon, a NSW Police spokeswoman was already able to confirm that "items of interest have been located".

The nature of the items is unknown, as is the number that have been found so far.

 

Ms Peisley's father Mark Wearne told a media conference outside the house that the wait for more evidence had been painful for the family, and he was "very grateful" for the "very heavy police presence" there.

"I’d like to see every copper in NSW be here," Mr Wearne said.

Ms Peisley, then 19, was last seen in the Katoomba area on September 26, 1998.

In late 2012, investigators uncovered information suggesting she may have been the victim of foul play within the group of young people with whom she was spending time, many of them drug users.

Two years before she disappeared she had inherited a large amount of money and bought herself a home.

But by the time she died, Ms Peisley was a drug addict and the only money coming into her account was from welfare payments.

Police said she had "accumulated considerable debt" as a result of her drug problem.

An inquest into Ms Peisley's death was initiated and police began searching a large swath of bush land near Blackheath.

The inquest in 2013 heard that a few days after her death, Ms Peisley's house was broken into by a number of her former friends and acquaintances, who later used her identification cards to sell items at a western Sydney pawn shop. 

Two of the 19-year-old's former friends - Jeremy Douglas and Saxon Holdforth - became "persons of interest" at the inquest, with the scrutiny on their activities intensifying.

The inquest received evidence from multiple witnesses suggesting that Ms Peisley had been killed and thrown off one of the Blue Mountains' many cliff edges.

"I heard she was killed over drugs or she wouldn't give them what they wanted," Kerren Fittler said in a handwritten statement to police.

Mr Holdforth and Mr Douglas steadfastly maintained their innocence at the inquest.

 

Counsel assisting the inquest, Phillip Strickland, SC, said the evidence relating to the exact manner and cause of Ms Peisley's death was inconclusive, but that it did "point strongly to her death being the result of some sort of homicide or violence".

"Much of the hearing has been directed towards whether these persons of interest had knowledge of or direct involvement in the circumstances surrounding Belinda Peisley's death," he said.

"The evidence regarding these persons is inconclusive and not capable of convincing a jury that a known person committed an indictable offence."

Speaking after the hearing, Ms Peisley's aunt, Sharon Versace said she was "very, very disappointed" that charges would not be laid.

"At the end of the day, someone hurt Belinda but they're still out there living their life and they've taken hers," she said.

"I'll never give up, the detectives have come so far - I'm hoping that one day we'll get some good news. It won't bring Belinda back, but it will be a bit of justice for the family."

The inquest found Ms Peisley most likely died about the time of her disappearance but it could not determine the cause or circumstances of her death.

The last person to see her alive was a nurse at Blue Mountains Hospital, the coroner said, but there was "considerable suspicion" three other people had some knowledge or involvement in her death.

Despite extensive police investigations and ground searches, her body has never been found.

 

A $100,000 reward remains in place for information about her disappearance.

with AAP, Blue Mountains Gazette

 

 

Missing persons expert slams investigation of young mother's suspected homicide

By Gina McKeon and Ange McCormack - ABC

Updated 

Police investigating the disappearance of 19-year-old Belinda Peisley in 1998 mishandled the case and missed a critical window of opportunity to gather evidence into her suspected homicide, a former NSW Police officer and missing persons expert says.

Karen Karakaya worked as a police officer in the NSW Coronial Support Unit and Missing Persons Unit in the late 1990s, during the time the young mother vanished from Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

Ms Karakaya told the ABC's true crime podcast investigating the disappearance of Ms Peisley, Unravel, it was "surprising" NSW police marked Ms Peisley's missing person's report as needing "no further investigation" just four days after it was officially made.

"You would not expect to see 'no further investigation' on something that required investigation," Ms Karakaya told Unravel.

"Those first few days and weeks are really critical to the investigation … It's a shame that this has happened."

"The only time you would see that this early on is if [Ms Peisley] was located, and they were locating and writing off the report as no further actions required.

"It's just so sad that these things happen — that someone's out there that's missing."

At the coronial inquest into the disappearance of Ms Peisley, held over three weeks in 2012 and 2013, the officer who took Ms Peisley's missing person's report, Matthew U'Brien, agreed that in retrospect there were obvious steps he could have taken, but didn't, like visiting Ms Peisley's residence and interviewing her friends and associates.

However, the lack of police action at the time wasn't solely Mr U'Brien's responsiblity; the priority given to particular cases wasn't something decided by individual officers — it was also up to their superiors.

Police failed to test blood at Belinda Peisley's home

Prior to the missing person's report about Ms Peisley's disappearance being filed, two NSW Police officers and two detectives had attended the 19-year-old's home at Trow Avenue in Katoomba.

It was three days after Ms Peisley was last seen alive. A government caseworker who had been helping Ms Peisley had alerted police because she was concerned about the young mother's welfare.

In a report documenting their attendance at Ms Peisley's home that day, police officers described Ms Peisley as an "illicit drug user".

One attending officer later stated they remembered seeing what appeared to be blood in the bathroom — about "the size of an adult handful" — but this was not tested or collected for a sample.

Phil Strickland, the counsel assisting the coroner at the inquest into Ms Peisley's disappearance and suspected death, said the initial police investigation was "inadequate".

"The police never treated this as a potential homicide," Mr Strickland said.

"They treated this as a junkie who had gone missing, and so the police didn't do any proper forensic sampling, particularly of blood samples that were in Belinda's house, and they didn't interview a number of critical witnesses.

"It is known that it is the first part of the investigation [that] is the critical one, and if you don't do that right, then it's often very hard to pick up the pieces later."

At the conclusion of the inquest into Ms Peisley's suspected death, coroner Paul McMahon recommended that standard operating procedures in missing persons cases be changed if a missing person was deemed to be of high or very high risk of having been the victim of a homicide or suspicious death the Homicide Squad is immediately advised.

Mr McMahon also recommended that the Homicide Squad should, if it considers it appropriate, lead the investigation in the first 72 hours.

It was also recommended that the investigation into Ms Peisley's suspected death be referred to the NSW Police Unsolved Homicide Unit.

Ms Peisley's suspected homicide was one of 500 cold cases to be re-examined by the NSW Police's Unsolved Homicide Squad last year, and in December 2018 a forensic excavation of Ms Peisley's home uncovered three pieces of clothing and underwear that are being forensically tested.

September, 1997
 
March, 1998
 
July, 1998
 
September 26, 1998
 
September 27, 1998
 
September 28, 1998
 
September 29, 1998
 
October 6, 1998
 
October 10, 1998
 
November 4, 1998
 
November 16, 1998
 
October 8, 2012
 
October 11, 2013
 
December 3, 2018

Key dates in the Belinda Peisley case

September 1997

Ms Peisley inherited about $150,000 from a relative.

March 1998

  • Ms Peisley bought a house on Trow Avenue in Katoomba for about $118,000. She moved in with her three-year-old son, Cody. Her other son Billy lived with his father in Sydney.
  • Over the course of the next few months, the house became like a "drop-in centre" for the local drug community, according to evidence given at the coronial inquest into Ms Peisley's disappearance. Her heroin use also increased over this time.

July 1998

  • Ms Peisley began a new relationship with Jason (whose name has been changed for legal reasons). By this time, she had spent almost the entirety of her inheritance.

September 26 1998

  • This is the last day Ms Peisley is known to have been alive.
  • Ms Peisley attended a gathering in Katoomba where she was punched in the face by an acquaintance.
  • After the altercation, Ms Peisley allegedly got a taxi home with her boyfriend, Jason (whose name has been changed for legal reasons). He said they had an argument at her house and she smashed mirrors and windows.
  • Jason left to allegedly stay at a friend's house. This friend remembered Jason coming over that night, but not staying over.
  • Ms Peisley's neighbour called the police after hearing yelling and things smashing. Police arrived at Ms Peisley's house and found her intoxicated and alone. They took her to a hospital in Katoomba where she was triaged by a nurse. She had a cut on her right hand.
  • Ms Peisley left the hospital at about 8:50pm before a doctor saw her. This was the last reported sighting of her alive.
  • At about 10:30pm, Ms Peisley called her mother, Lesley, and asked her to bring her son, Cody, to her home at Trow Avenue (Cody was staying with Lesley). Lesley said it was too late and they would come in the morning.

September 27 1998

  • Heidi Wailes said after she heard about her friend Ms Peisley being punched, she went to her house to see how she was, but no-one was home. Ms Wailes said she went inside the house to look for Ms Peisley and found her bag, with her wallet inside, squashed down the back of the couch. Ms Wailes did not make an official report to police about this until a considerable time later.
  • Jason (whose name has been changed for legal reasons) went to the NRL Grand Final in Sydney with several people.

September 28 1998

  • Jason returned to Ms Peisley's house in the morning and found the front door open and windows smashed. He looked around for Ms Peisley but she wasn't there. He said he found her keycard and Medicare card, and he took them. He waited for her for a couple of hours, then left.
  • A Department of Community Services (DoCS) worker went to Ms Peisley's home to visit her. She saw windows were smashed, and there was no answer at the door.
  • A note on the police reporting system said Jason had informed police Ms Peisley had gone "berserk" at her house on September 26, smashing property and windows and throwing him out. The note also said Ms Peisley had not been seen at the house for two days and her current whereabouts were unknown.

September 29 1998

  • The DoCS worker returned to Ms Peisley home to ascertain her whereabouts but nobody was there. The worker notified police about her concerns for Ms Peisley's welfare.
  • Police attend Ms Peisley's home and made a forced entry into the property. One officer who attended later remembered seeing what appeared to be blood in the bathroom.

October 6 1998

  • Ms Peisley's mother officially reported her as missing to police. A photograph of Ms Peisley was collected by police and posted on an information board in Katoomba.

October 10 1998

  • Police marked Ms Peisley's missing person's report with a clear-up status of "No further investigation".

4 November 1998

  • Police were informed of activity in Ms Peisley's bank account and the possibility that Jason (whose name has been changed for legal reasons) was the person accessing it.

16 November 1998

  • Police took their first formal statement from Jason regarding Ms Peisley's disappearance. Jason admitted to using her keycard to withdraw money from her account, but said she owed him money.

8 October 2012

  • The inquest into the disappearance and suspected death of Ms Peisley began at the NSW State Coroner's Court in Katoomba. The inquest continued over 15 days in 2012 and 2013 at Katoomba Local Court, Parramatta Local Court and the NSW State Coroner's Court in Glebe.

11 October 2013

  • NSW deputy state coroner Paul McMahon determined Ms Peisley died on or about 26 September 1998 in or around Katoomba, and her death was more likely than not the consequence of the action of a third party. The coroner was unable to make a finding as to the cause and manner of her death.
  • At the conclusion of the inquest, Mr McMahon found it was unlikely Jason (whose name has been changed for legal reasons) was involved in Ms Peisley's disappearance and suspected death. As to whether Ms Wailes had any direct knowledge of and/or involvement, the coroner said the evidence was inconclusive.

3 December 2018

  • Police conducted a forensic dig at Ms Peisley's Katoomba home and found three pieces of clothing that are being tested for DNA.
 

 

To follow Unravel's ongoing podcast investigation into the unsolved disappearance of Belinda Peisley, listen to Unravel Season Three on the ABC Listen app, on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

 

 

'I never, ever expected foul play': What happened to Belinda Peisley?

Nineteen-year-old single mum Belinda Peisley vanished from a hospital in the Blue Mountains in September 1998. Years later, an inquest uncovered a murky network of friends and locals around her in the last few months of her life. Her family hangs onto the hope that someone knows something and will come forward with new information.

Gina McKeon and Ange McCormack

Updated 

About a week before she disappeared, Belinda Peisley drove for over an hour from Katoomba, west of Sydney, to visit her aunt, Sharon Versace.

Sharon told the inquest she remembered her niece turning up unexpectedly with a man she didn't recognise — both he and Belinda were very distressed.

"She was in quite a state saying she was fearful for her life," said Sharon.

"She was sure someone was trying to kill her."

Sharon told Belinda to go to the police, but Belinda said she felt they couldn't offer her enough protection.

Instead, it seemed, Belinda had made a plan.

"She said she had connections that could get her passports and fake identifications so she could start afresh."

Sharon said, for a long time, she believed Belinda had fled interstate.

"I thought that one of these days I'd get a call and she'd be like, 'Here I am!'"

But that phone call never came.

Belinda's frantic visit to her aunt's place that day would be the last time Sharon ever saw her.

Years later it would emerge that, in the months before Belinda disappeared, she had told a number of people, including Sharon, that she was scared and someone was trying to hurt her.

I couldn't believe anyone would want to kill Belinda — I never, ever expectedoul play.

Still too scared to speak

A coronial inquest was held into Belinda Peisley's disappearance and suspected death in 2012 and 2013.

Members of Belinda's family, the local police and her social circle in Katoomba all gave evidence. Among them were six people named by police as persons of interest.

Do you know more? Contact unraveltruecrime@abc.net.au

The third season of the ABC's Unravel podcast, Last Seen Katoomba, examines the evidence around these six persons of interest.

The coroner basically ruled out three of the six persons of interest: Jason and John (whose names have been changed for legal reasons), and Wanda Loynds.

Regarding the other persons of interest — Heidi Wailes, Jeremy Douglas and Luke (whose name has been changed for legal reasons) — the coroner found the available evidence was inconclusive, but did raise considerable suspicion as to the possibility of knowledge and/or involvement in Belinda's disappearance and/or subsequent death.

More than 20 years on, some people are still too scared to speak about Belinda and her case.

Could some of the people at the inquest know more about what happened to her?
 

Last known sighting of Belinda

Belinda Peisley was last seen leaving a hospital in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains around 8:50pm on September 26, 1998.

Police had brought her to the emergency department at about 8:30pm from her nearby home.

At the hospital, a nurse triaged Belinda noting she seemed agitated, had a laceration on her right hand and wouldn't remove her jacket.

Before a doctor could see her, Belinda walked out of the emergency department.

Despite several police investigations stretching across two decades, Belinda has never been found.

Belinda's life in Katoomba

A year before she vanished, Belinda Peisley had inherited $150,000 from a distant relative. She used a large portion of the money to buy a house in Katoomba.

Belinda's aunt, Sharon Versace, said she helped Belinda buy the house and was proud Belinda had used her money wisely.

"She did the right thing and went out and bought a little cottage," said Sharon.

At the time Belinda was born, Sharon lived with her sister Lesley Peisley, Belinda's mother, for a few years, so Sharon helped to raise Belinda and had a close relationship with her.

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"Belinda was a real little sweetie; always wanting to do things to help Lesley," said Sharon. "Even from a very young age, making her cups of tea and helping out with things around the house — she was really good like that".

Belinda's father, Mark Wearne, was absent from Belinda's childhood, and Sharon says Lesley had mental health issues so things weren't easy for Belinda.

When Belinda hit her teens, she became what Sharon describes as "wilder and less controlled": Belinda dyed her hair dark, was listening to heavy metal, and started hanging with the "wrong crowd".

Belinda was going out at night, partying, taking drugs, and Sharon felt there wasn't a lot of stability.

Belinda ran away from home a number of times, stayed in women's refuges, and lived with Sharon for a while.

By the time Belinda was 15, she was pregnant with her first son, Cody, and soon after she had another son, Billy.

Belinda and her family had known for a few years that Belinda was due to receive the inheritance when she turned 18.

When the time came, Sharon said she persuaded Belinda to buy a house.

"It just would've been devastating to waste that money," said Sharon. "She was lucky to have that opportunity, so basically we made it known that this was setting her up for life — she could start afresh and it was good for her sons".

Belinda moved into the house with her then three-year-old son, Cody. Her younger son, Billy, lived with his father in Sydney.

Within six months of buying the house, Belinda disappeared.

The last time Belinda was reported being seen alive was at the hospital in Katoomba on September 26, 1998. However, the last known contact Belinda made was a phone call to her mother, Lesley Peisley, at around 10:30pm that night.

Lesley had been looking after Belinda's son, Cody, and Belinda asked Lesley to bring Cody up to her Katoomba home. Lesley lived locally but told Belinda it was too late in the evening, so they would come in the morning instead.

In the days afterward, Lesley did go to Belinda's home with Sharon Versace, but Belinda wasn't home. They saw that Belinda's house had been trashed: windows and mirrors were smashed and there was blood on the floor of the bathroom.

Fearing for her life

In the lead-up to her going missing, Belinda Peisley told multiple family members, including Sharon Versace, she was fearing for her life.

Since moving to Katoomba, Belinda had become involved in the local drug community, and her home had become like a "drop-in centre", as one witness described at the inquest.

People in the community would visit her home anytime, day or night, and sometimes would stay for periods of time, with or without Belinda's permission. It appeared to one witness at the time that Belinda had lost control of her home and she was sick of people coming to her house and using drugs.

Belinda's ex-boyfriend, Andrew Moffett, the father of her son Billy, told the inquest he noticed things started to change after Belinda moved to Katoomba. After the move, they used to keep in touch by talking on the phone, and Andrew said one particular phone call sticks out in his mind where he says Belinda told him she'd got herself into trouble.

"She said she'd dug a hole for herself and she was getting herself out," said Andrew.

Andrew said Belinda was stressing to him that she loved both he and Billy, and she wanted them to remember that.

I didn't realise she was in as much trouble as she was actually in.

Evidence from Sharon and from Belinda's boyfriend at the time she disappeared, Jason, shows that in the weeks leading up to her vanishing, Belinda had shown a desire to leave Katoomba.

In the days before she disappeared, some of the people Belinda had considered friends had broken into her home.

At the inquest in 2013 into her disappearance and suspected death, the coroner found that the evidence Belinda was alive after September 26, 1998, is marginal, and is satisfied that it is more probable than not that Belinda is dead and that she died on or about September 26, 1998.

A moment of hope

In December last year, there was a moment of hope for Belinda Peisley's family. New South Wales Police found three items of women's clothing during a forensic dig under Belinda's former home in Katoomba.

In March 2019, police released photos of the items exclusively to Unravel. The commander of the NSW Homicide Squad, Detective Superintendent Scott Cook, told Unravel the clothes had been subjected to numerous forensic examinations that provided investigators with further lines of inquiry.

"As detectives continue to explore these lines of inquiry, we are appealing to the community for information that may assist us in our pursuit of justice for Belinda and her loved ones," Detective Superintendent Cook said.

What has become clear in the years since she disappeared is that wherever Belinda ended up after leaving the hospital that night, she probably wasn't alone.

'We just want to know the truth'

In the end, the coroner found it is more likely than not that Belinda Peisley's death was the consequence of the action of a third party, and that the matter was to be referred to the unsolved homicide unit of the NSW Police Homicide Squad for further investigation.

Belinda's father, Mark Wearne, who had reconnected with Belinda a year before she went missing and attended the inquest to give evidence, said the inquest brought Belinda's case into the public limelight and onto public record.

"Whereas, prior to the inquest it was just a closed personal tragedy," said Mark.

No parent should ever bury their own child, and what makes it even more difficult is we don't even have a body to bury.

"We just want to know the truth; we just want to know what's happened," said Mark.

"At the end of the day that's the hardest thing: not knowing if she's alive or if she's not," said Belinda's aunt, Sharon Versace.

"The 'not-knowing' is the worst thing".

Belinda's mother, Lesley Peisley, said for a long time she held on to hope that Belinda was alive.

"I thought she would come back or they'd find her," said Lesley. "But once I got the report from the coroner saying a 'homicide' giving the date of her death, I had to accept she was gone."

Lesley said she has never found a way to cope with the loss of her daughter.

"I just felt the void. Basically it's a continual loss."

The disappearance of Belinda Peisley is the focus of season three of the Unravel True Crime podcast, Last Seen Katoomba. Subscribe on the ABC listen app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Credits

 

Detectives release images of underwear found underneath missing woman Belinda Peisley’s home

One of the pieces of underwear found underneath Belinda Peisley's former home in Katoomba. One of the pieces of clothing found underneath Belinda Peisley's former home in Katoomba.  One of the pieces of clothing found underneath Belinda Peisley's former home in Katoomba.

Detectives have released images of clothing, including underwear, of a missing Sydney woman who has not been seen for 21 years.

Belinda Peisley, then aged 19, was last seen in the Katoomba area of the Blue Mountains on Saturday, September 26, 1998.

In December last year, detectives from Strike Force Belonidae – formed exclusively to investigate Peisley’s disappearance – conducted a forensic examination underneath her former home in Katoomba.

The dig recovered a number of items, including underwear, a skit and a top that had been buried underneath the property.

Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Scott Cook, said the clothes have been subjected to numerous forensic examinations, which have provided investigators with some further lines of inquiry.

“As we continue to explore these lines of inquiry, we are appealing to the community for information that may assist us in our pursuit of justice for Belinda and her loved ones,” Det Supt Cook said.

“In particular, we are hoping someone may recognise the clothing and recall Belinda wearing them or being in her possession.”

The search for Peisley, a mother of two, has been ongoing for more than two decades.

In the late 1990s, local police and officers from the Homicide Squad launched extensive investigations and numerous ground searches into the whereabouts of the then 19-year-old.

Despite exploring various lines of inquiry and identifying numerous persons of interest, Peisley has never been found.

In 2013 the NSW Coroner declared that Peisley had died around the time of her disappearance, but did not specify the 19-year-old’s cause or manner of death.

Two years before Peisley disappeared, she had inherited a large amount of money and bought herself a home.

But by the time she died Ms Peisley was a drug addict and the only money coming into her account was welfare payments.

Police previously said she had "accumulated considerable debt" as a result of her drug problem.

Strike Force Belonidae was formed to continue investigations into Peisley’s disappearance.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Belonidae detectives is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.