Desperate plea after missing woman's backpack found in Sydney: 'May be alive'

·News Editor
·3-min read

Police are calling for public assistance to solve the unsettling disappearance of a Brisbane woman who vanished late last year after her backpack containing identification documents and bank cards was discovered in Sydney.

Kathleen Riethmuller, 28, vanished in October 2021, with detectives calling her strange disappearance "out of character".

Some time after disappearing, one of her Facebook accounts under the name of 'Red Riding Hood' became deactivated, The Daily Mail reported in May. She is known by police to use a series of aliases, the publication reported.

Senior police addressed the media and public on Monday as they launched the 2022 Missing Persons Week campaign, highlighting the confounding case of Ms Riethmuller.

Pictures of the missing woman
Nearly a year after vanishing, detectives believe she may still alive. Source: NSW Police

Police were notified after her backpack was found by a member of the public on Thursday October 28, 2021. Subsequent enquiries revealed the woman was seen at a Bunnings store in Artarmon before later appearing in North Sydney at 2.30pm wearing a long sleeve denim dress and black flat shoes.

Police think Ms Riethmuller may have travelled to Melbourne and believe she is still alive.

She reportedly listed a number of her household belongings for sale on Gumtree in the days before her disappearance wth her profile later wiped.

Deputy Premier and Police Minister Paul Toole said today’s appeal was about uncovering more clues that may help locate the missing 28-year-old data scientist and ensure her wellbeing.

"The ripple effect that occurs when a person goes missing without reason or without a trace shouldn’t be underestimated," he said.

"Police are committed to finding Kathleen to provide answers to her family and those who knew her, but they need the public’s help."

Acting Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole says authorities are trying to give the family answers. Source: AAP
Acting Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole says authorities are trying to give the family answers. Source: AAP

Detectives 'strongly suspect' Kathleen Riethmuller may be alive

Detective Chief Inspector Glen Browne said police strongly suspect Ms Riethmuller is alive but are reliant on the public to come forward to help them find her.

"Detectives from both North Shore and Kings Cross have conducted extensive inquiries into Kathleen’s movements and activities immediately before and after she went missing," he said.

"Her behaviour was clearly out of character when she was last seen, and we’ve been unable to establish any logical reason for her movements that day and subsequent disappearance.

"Investigators strongly suspect Kathleen may be alive and possibly living interstate, and any information to that effect would be very helpful to police.

"We continue to work off several possibilities as to why Kathleen disappeared but ultimately, we need the public’s help – which is why we’ve chosen her case to highlight during this important week," Inspector Browne said.

Ms Riethmuller – who in the past has reportedly gone by aliases including Amy Munroe, Margaret Riethmuller, Kate Riethmuller and Kate Muller – is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 165cm to 175cm tall and of thin build with long dark hair.

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