Detectives investigating the disappearance and suspected murder of Steven Fenwick are convinced some of those close to the disability pensioner were “concealing evil” and know who is responsible.
In announcing a $500,000 reward for information leading to a conviction, Strike Force Kummari head Detective Sergeant Jeff Little pleaded with those with information to come forward.
The last confirmed sighting of Mr Fenwick, 33, was on CCTV as he got off a bus at Fern Bay, north of Newcastle, on January 30 last year.
His girlfriend, Samantha Melville, told police that she had walked to an oval at Stockton in the early hours of the following morning to meet up with Mr Fenwick.
But he never arrived and some clothes and personal items were later found near an entrance to Stockton Beach.
Police now believe the clothes, which were neatly folded, were left there as a ruse to give searchers the impression that Mr Fenwick may have gone for a swim and drowned.
But detectives are convinced he never made the water – Mr Fenwick had lost a loved one after they drowned and he was aware of the dangers of swimming at night.
“We know certain people are concealing evil, living with this burden,’’ Det Sgt Little said today.
“You have got to tell. Because holding a dark secret is concealing evil. Everything hidden will ultimately be found out.’’
He later added: “There are strong indicators that people who knew Steven know far more about what has happened to him. Sadly they just don’t have the decency to say anything.’’
Mr Fenwick’s mother, Debbie, has also pleaded for information.
“Every day without answers is another day of heartache and confusion – we just want to know what happened,’’ Mrs Fenwick said.
“Please if you have anything which may help detectives, it could make a world of difference.’’
Ms Melville was also due to appear at the press conference today, but was not able to attend.
Mr Fenwick was a small time drug user who had battled his addiction.
Mrs Fenwick said her son had been clean for months leading up to his disappearance, but was worried he may have slipped back into the Port Stephens drug scene.
CCTV footage showed Mr Fenwick collecting some poker machine winnings at a local club before more vision on a bus showed him get off at Fern Bay.
Police have confirmed he was at Fern Bay on January 30.
A series of searches across bushland and waterways has failed to find any trace of Mr Fenwick.
“This mystery needs solving. If you are involved in the disappearance or death of Steven Fenwick, make no mistake, time and money will uncover what happened to Steven,’’ Det Sgt Little said.
Anyone who may have information about Mr Fenwick’s disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.