Nine years after German backpacker Simone Strobel disappeared from – and was subsequently found dead near – the Lismore Tourist Caravan Park, German police have offered a reward in the hope of finally solving the case.
The Bavarian Office of Criminal Investigation is offering a reward of 10,000 euros ($15,165) for information that leads to a conviction for the cold-case killing.
Detective Sergeant Dave Mackie, of Richmond LAC, said Simone headed to Australia on 3 August 2004, together with her boyfriend, Tobias Suckfuell.
‘They had planned staying for year on a work and travel visa,’ he said.
‘On 11 February 2005 they checked in at the Tourist Caravan Park in Lismore.
‘They spent the evening together at a pub in downtown Lismore and afterwards returned to the campsite where they were staying [with Tobias’s sister Katrin and another travelling companion, Jens Martin].’
That night Simone disappeared.
Some time later Tobias reported her missing.
Simone’s naked body was found covered with palm fronds on a sports ground about 90 metres from the campsite on 17 February 2005.
At a 2007 inquest in Lismore, Jens Martin said that he, Tobias and Katrin had lied about the circumstances to police.
The inquest also heard that Tobias and Simone had been arguing and that Tobias had been smoking increasing amounts of marijuana and had become aggressive.
Both Tobias and Katrin Suckfuell refused to attend the inquest and have never returned to Australia.
No-one has ever been charged with the crime.
German police are keen to hear from Lismore residents who may be able to provide a clue that would solve the murder.
In particular they are keen to find a pair of white pants and a red dress, worn by Simone, which have never been retrieved.
They would also like to hear from anyone at the campsite that night who may remember something that they haven’t yet told police.