Mum’s plea amid desperate hunt for body of Perth teen Hayley Dodd

Yahoo News Australia and agencies
·3-min read

A new search for the remains of Western Australian teenager Hayley Dodd has been sparked by comments made at trial by her convicted killer Francis John Wark.

Special crime detectives and forensic officers are continuing to scour Wark's former home in rural Badgingarra, near where Hayley was last seen in 1999.

The renewed hunt for her remains has given hope to the family desperate for something to bring them closure. 

Speaking to The West Australian, Hayley's mother Margaret Dodd said she had her "fingers crossed" her daughter would finally be found after more than two decades.

"All I can say is we have our fingers crossed they find something of Hayley’s, or Hayley herself," she said.

"I’m just hanging tight. Of course, if they find something I’d be straight up there... it’s something we have been praying for for the past 22 years, to bring Hayley home."

Hayley Dodd was last seen alive more than two decades ago at the age of 17. Source: AAP
Hayley Dodd was last seen alive more than two decades ago at the age of 17. Source: AAP

Wark, 65, was last month acquitted by a WA Supreme Court jury of murdering Hayley after a six-week retrial but found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Justice Stephen Hall last week jailed Wark for 18 years — six years longer than the previous record manslaughter sentence in the state. 

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the fresh search was prompted by evidence given by Wark during his retrial.

"During the recent trial, in which Wark was convicted, he was examined and he made some comments while he was in the dock," Mr Dawson told Perth radio 6PR on Wednesday.

The front page of The West Australian on Wednesday.
The front page of The West Australian on Wednesday.

"He was responding to questions about what might be under certain areas, including the water tank and I think it was a long drop toilet.

"It is painstaking but most importantly, we are not going to give up looking for Hayley."

Mr Dawson said Wark's sprawling property had previously been extensively searched and as of Wednesday, there were no developments.

"There appear to be at least several more opportunities which we want to conclusively eliminate," he said.

"The place looked like a mining site last time I was there. Over the years there (have) been additions and alterations."

Western Australia police searching a site in Badgingarra, north of Perth, for information about the disappearance of 17-year-old Hayley Dodd in 2013. Source: AAP
Western Australia police searching a site in Badgingarra, north of Perth, for information about the disappearance of 17-year-old Hayley Dodd in 2013. Source: AAP

Lost earring led to charges in cold case

Hayley was 17 when she was last seen alive in July 1999, walking along a road near Badgingarra, about 200 kilometres north of Perth.

Wark was implicated in her disappearance and charged in 2015 when an earring was found inside a ute he had access to and was driven on the day Hayley vanished. 

The earring matched a sketch drawn by Hayley's friend of ones she was wearing the day she vanished.

A piece of hair prosecutors said belonged to Hayley was also found in the ute's passenger footwell.

The teen's body has never been found.

In 2018, Hayley's sister pleaded with the convicted murderer to reveal the location of her body in an emotional interview outside the WA Supreme Court.

"Tell us where Hayley is so we can put her to rest. Give us some peace," she said.

Margaret Dodd, pictured with her sister Toni Dodd leaving the Supreme Court trial of her daughter's accused killer Francis Wark in October, 2017. Source: AAP
Margaret Dodd, pictured with her sister Toni Dodd leaving the Supreme Court trial of her daughter's accused killer Francis Wark in October, 2017. Source: AAP

"There's no body, we need a body for some closure."

In his sentencing remarks, Justice Hall found Wark had lured Hayley into his ute with an intention to sexually assault her and had attacked her when she resisted.

He then disposed of her body with "callous disregard" in a way that ensured he would not be linked to her death.

with AAP

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