Ann Prudance (Prue) BIRD
DISAPPEARED - 14
Prudance was last seen at her home address at Glenroy Victoria on Sunday, 2 February 1992.
Reported missing to: Victorian Police.
19 Sep, 2008 03:06 PM - Golden Mail
THE mother of a teenage girl missing, believed murdered, for 16 years hopes someone in Leonora may have information that can provide police with fresh clues.
Last month Victorian homicide squad detectives announced a reward for information had jumped from $100,000 to $500,000 and Jenny Bird is hoping someone who knew her daughter during a stay in Leonora will come forward with new information.
Prudence Bird, known as `Prue', 13, disappeared from her home in Melbourne about 2.10pm on February 2, 1992, leaving a hot meal uneaten on the table and the television going. Her mother was out with Prue's sister at the time.
Ms Bird said Prue had spent part of 1991 living with her grandmother, Julie, her grandmother's partner, career criminal Paul Kurt Hetzel, and an associate of Hetzel's named 'Maurie', in a rented house in Gwalia Street, Leonora.
She had attended Leonora District High School and her “nanna” and Hetzel had bought a house in Leonora and were renovating it while she was staying with them, Ms Bird said.
She said her daughter came to Melbourne with her grandmother and Hetzel in late 1991 but decided not to return to Leonora with them.
“She said to me 'I'm not going back - he's nuts'," Ms Bird said.
She said she learned later that about the time her daughter went missing from her home, Hetzel's associate 'Maurie' was supposedly on his way to Melbourne from Leonora to deliver a parcel of clothes and other items that Prue had left behind.
Ms Bird said she also found out later that when her daughter disappeared without trace there was no publicity about the case in Leonora.
“At the time Hetzel was taking part in a police witness protection program so, of course, the police didn't want any publicity about where he was,” Ms Bird said.
“I was so angry when I found out there had been no publicity in Leonora.
“Somebody there might have seen something while Prue was living there or heard something after she left that might have helped police get a picture of what could have happened to her.
“I'm hoping that publicity now (the reward for information leading to a conviction has been increased) might still jog someone's memory,” Ms Bird said.
She said she was under “no illusions” about her daughter's disappearance.
“I just want to know what happened,” she said.
Ms Bird said she severed all contact with her mother and Hetzel after her daughter's disappearance.
Hetzel spent years in the witness protection program after testifying against three associates convicted over a bomb blast that killed one person and injured 23 outside the then Victoria Police headquarters in 1986 and armed robberies.
Police have said they interviewed “several persons of interest” in relation to Prue Bird’s disappearance and suspected murder, however “these avenues of enquiry have proven fruitless”.
Former crime reporters, John Silvester and Andrew Rule, covered Prue Bird's disappearance in their book Underbelly 3.
Anyone with information which may help police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au and quote reference number CA2025.
August 4, 2008
- Prudence Bird missing since 1992
- Authorities to consider waiving charges
- Investigations so far fruitless
Homicide Squad detectives today announced the reward for information leading to a conviction had jumped from $100,000 to $500,000.
Schoolgirl Prudence Bird, known as `Prue', disappeared from her home in Justin Avenue, Glenroy about 2.10pm on February 2, 1992.
Her mother Jenny said the past 16 years had been "the cruellest".
"It's like carrying a bag of bricks around with you every day of your life," she said.
Ms Bird last spoke to Prue the night before her disappearance, when her daughter apologised for coming home late, and told her she loved her.
After looking in on her sleeping daughter the next morning, Ms Bird left for the day.
A female friend, living at the house, and reported to be in a relationship with Ms Bird, last saw Prue in the kitchen preparing lunch, and taking a call from a teenage boy.
When the woman returned to the house after packing boxes in the garage, the front door was open, the television was on and a hot meal was sitting uneaten on the table.
Despite extensive police investigations, Prue has not been seen or heard from since.
"To me it's like she's been taken by aliens, she's just gone," her mother said.
Police have investigated numerous avenues of enquiry in the hunt for Prue over the past 16 years - including her grandmother's de facto husband Paul Kurt Hetzel.
In 1999, The Age reported Hetzel, a career criminal, had lived under witness protection for years after testifying against three associates convicted over the Russell Street bombing and armed robberies.
In 1991, Prue, apparently resentful of her mother's new relationship with the woman who lived at their house, wanted to leave home, and went to stay with her "Nanna" and Hetzel in a town near Kalgoorlie.
She later returned, reporting telling her mother: "I don't want to go back - he's nuts."
Prue also knew a man called Stanley Taylor, an old jailmate of Hetzel's. The Age reported in 1999 that it was only after Prue took an overdose of tablets the year before she disappeared, that her grandmother revealed that at age seven, Prue was handcuffed to a naked boy her own age in a shower.
Ms Bird said she was under no illusions her feisty daughter, who was in Year 8 at Glenroy High when she disappeared, was still alive.
"I don't live in a fairyland, I knew the day Prue went missing that whatever it was (it) was going to be terrible," she said.
Detective Inspector Steve Clark today said police did not have "any information to suggest the disappearance is linked to the Russell Street bombings", and no specific information there was any link to the grandparents.
Ms Bird said she had no theories.
"I have no clue, I wish I knew," she said.
Ms Bird said she had cut all ties with her extended family.
She said she missed Prue, who would have now been 30, every day of her life.
"I think, would she be married, would she have children? I miss everything about her, I miss her smell, her touch, I miss everything.
"She was naughty at times, she had a lot of guts to do things, she used to pinch me on the bum to say that she loves me."
Detective Inspector Clark said there were still many unanswered questions.
"She (Prue) had no criminal history, nor did she have any known personal reasons to run away from home. She left a hot meal uneaten on the table and did not take any possessions with her.
"It is as though she simply disappeared off the face of the earth."
Detective Inspector Clark said it was a case that the Homicide Squad would dearly like to solve.
"This is a job that tugs at everybody's heartstrings, a lot of people at the Homicide Squad have young children, so it's very, very difficult to cope with the disappearance of a 13-year-old," he said.
Ms Bird urged the public to provide any information, no matter how insignificant it seemed.
"Please have the courage to make the phone call. If you want to stay anonymous, stay anonymous, but please, Prue needs to be buried with dignity, I need to be able to put her to rest."
Investigators have interviewed several persons of interest in relation to the disappearance and suspected murder, but those avenues proved fruitless.
The Office of Public Prosecutions will consider waiving charges to any person who provides information about the case.
The call for information on Prue's disappearance coincides with the start of National Missing Persons Week.
Anyone with information should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or go to www.crimestoppers.com.au
*Click below on link to article about Hetzel from 1977 -
BEGA schoolgirl killer Les Camilleri has emerged as the prime suspect in one of Melbourne's most disturbing cold case murders.
The sinister Camilleri is under scrutiny over the baffling 1992 disappearance of 13-year-old Glenroy girl Prue Bird.
Camilleri is already serving two life sentences for the murder of Lauren Barry, 14, and Nichole Collins, 16, in 1997.
He and an accomplice abducted the girls in southern NSW, raped them and murdered them by a creek in Victoria's east.
The investigation into the killing of Prue Bird was first thought to be linked to the Russell St police bombings or a notorious armed robber who was friendly with her family.
But Camilleri is now in the sights of the homicide squad.
Investigators have been trying to piece together Camilleri's movements in the period when Prue vanished.
She was last seen alive preparing lunch in the kitchen of her mother's Justin Avenue house on February 2, 1992. A family friend who had been packing boxes in a garage returned to find the front door open and the television on.
Earlier this year, police publicly appealed for anyone who knew of Camilleri's whereabouts or could place him in Melbourne in the 1990s to come forward, but did not specify why.
A $500,000 reward is in place for anyone able to help find Prue's killer.
Victoria Police would not comment on any link between Camilleri and the Bird case.
"The investigation into the murder of Prue Bird remains unsolved, and police urge any person with information in relation to the homicide to contact CrimeStoppers," a police statement said.
In 1999, Supreme Court judge Frank Vincent sentenced Camilleri to life in jail with no minimum term.
"Through your own acts, you have forfeited your right to ever walk among us again," Justice Vincent said.
Now 39, Camilleri is serving his term in the state's most secure jail, Barwon Prison, near Geelong.
His accomplice, Lindsay Beckett, was sentenced to life in jail with a minimum of 35 years before he can be considered for parole.
One of the early theories after Prue disappeared was that her death was linked to the Russell St police bombings of 1986.
Her grandmother was a long-time partner of convicted armed robber Paul Hetzel, who turned Crown witness against four men accused of the bombing.
At one stage, police also examined whether a sexually twisted armed robber, who had spent time with the family, was responsible.
That man, known at one stage as Bank Enemy Number One, had sexually assaulted a relative of Prue's.
Anyone with information on the murder of Prue Bird can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au.
Break-through in Prue Bird disappearance
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 07:38
Homicide Squad detectives have made a break-through in the mystery disappearance and suspected murder of teenager Prudence "Prue" Bird.
For 19 years police have been painstakingly investigating what happened to the 13-year-old school girl.
Recently new information was provided to investigators that Prue was last seen in the back seat of a blue 1986 Ford Laser hatchback with her hands against the back window as it drove away.
Police are now searching for this vehicle which they think was used to abduct Prue.
The Glenroy teen was last seen at her Justin Avenue home about 2.10pm on February 2, 1992.
Her mother Jenny left home that morning, leaving Prue with a family friend who also lived at the house.
Prue was last seen in the kitchen preparing lunch. When the friend returned to the house after packing boxes in the garage, the front door was open, the television was on and a hot meal was sitting uneaten on the table.
Despite an extensive police investigation, Prue has not been seen or heard from since.
A $500,000 reward remains on offer for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the school girl's suspected death.
Homicide Squad Detective Inspector John Potter said someone in the community knew what happened to the teen.
"For nearly two decades the Bird family has been left with many unanswered questions regarding Prue's disappearance and we want to provide them with answers," he said.
"This new piece of information could prove to be the break-through we needed to solve this case and it's now crucial that we find this car.
"The Bird family need and deserve closure so we ask anyone with information on Prue's disappearance or the blue Laser to please contact police or Crime Stoppers."
Investigators have interviewed several persons of interest in relation to Prue's disappearance and suspected murder, however these avenues of enquiry have not lead to an arrest.
The Department of Public Prosecutions will also consider the granting indemnification from prosecution to any person who provides information as to the identity of the principal offender or offenders.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au.
INVESTIGATORS will continue their search today for the body of missing Melbourne teenager Prue Bird at the site of the Bega schoolgirl double murders.
The bodies of Lauren Barry and Nichole Collins were found at Flat Rock Creek in east Gippsland in 1997.
Prue Bird was last seen in a car that sped away from her Glenroy home in 1992. She was 13.
It has been reported police followed a hand-drawn map and detection dogs as they used tools to clear two patches yesterday. The other patch is thought to be
the location of the body of a missing man whose identity is not yet known.
Prue's mother spoke last week about the angst she had felt over the last 20 years.
''To get her body back [she] would have somewhere to go. It's been a hard 20 years, and I miss her,'' Mrs Bird said.
Les Camilleri is expected to face the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
PROSECUTORS are anticipating that the man accused of murdering Glenroy teenager Prue Bird in 1992 may have his case resolved at the end of the month.
Leslie Alfred Camilleri, 43, sat in the dock in Court 11 at Melbourne Magistrates' Court today and spoke only seven words during the 9.15am hearing before Magistrate Simon Garnett.
Prue’s mother, Jenny, watched on from the back of the court.
The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court was told last month that while Camilleri had made admissions in relation to the case, issues involving alleged motive and the circumstances were in dispute.
Today, defence lawyer Jacqui Kennedy reiterated that the defence and prosecution were still in dispute over the facts, adding that the parties were still “miles apart”.
In asking for a plea, Mr Garnett put the charge to Camilleri that in Victoria between February 2 and 11, 1992, he murdered Prue Bird.
Camilleri replied: “I don’t wish to enter a plea.”
When Mr Garnett said he would register a plea of not guilty - as he was required to register a plea under the current act - Ms Kennedy said she believed her client had a right to remain silent on a definitive plea.
It was decided a not guilty plea would be registered.
Chief Crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert, SC, told Mr Garnett that the prosecution team were anticipating a plea on July 31.
Camilleri - with shaved head and wearing a green windcheater zipped high up his neck - was returned to custody.
“I have noted what you said in response to my question (regarding a plea),” Mr Garnett told him.
Camilleri will appear in the Supreme Court for a directions hearing on July 31.
Prue, 13, vanished from her Glenroy home on February 2, 1992.
Her remains have not been located.
Speaking to the Herald Sun outside court, Jenny Bird said she could not comment at this stage of the proceedings.