Search for Hayley Dodd clues resumes
Hayley Dodd

Police investigating the disappearance of teenager Hayley Dodd have returned to Badgingarra in the hunt for more clues.

Up to 18 officers will be involved in the renewed search in bush near the town about 200km north of Perth.

A mobile police facility has been set up at the local community centre. Further searches will be conducted over the coming week, police said.

But police will not return to the property that was the subject of extensive examination late last year.

Hayley, 17, was last seen hitchhiking on North West Road. Her disappearance is one of WA’s most baffling missing person cases.

Police searched a property late last year, clearing concrete slabs, branches and limestone blocks from around the house, while Dandaragan shire workers used machinery to collect debris.

Police at Badgingarra today. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

At the time, Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said police were focused on investigating the new information and WA Police said that they would not comment on who was a suspect for operational reasons.

The property became the focus of the investigation into the suspected homicide, codenamed Operation Bluegum, when new information emerged in a review of one of WA's most baffling cases.

CASE COP'S RAGE | TOWN STUNNED | HOME RUINED IN SEARCH

Police search a Badgingarra property on November 29 last year in another bid to solve the mystery of Hayley Dodd's disappearance. File picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian

Police partly dismantled the property on North West Road after it emerged John Robert McConnell, a child sex offender, had lived there with Francis John Wark, a convicted rapist.

Wark sold the property soon after Hayley vanished and moved interstate.

Police finished the four-week search on Christmas Eve without uncovering any relevant material. and police did not reveal any major developments as a result.

The current property owner, who bought it from Wark in late 1999, is not a suspect.

Kahu Smiler, who had been living at the property, said police’s actions made the residence unliveable. Mr Smiler said he was seeking legal advice and would like police to cover the cost of the property’s damage, estimated at more than $200,000.

In 2007, Wark was sentenced in Queensland to more than a decade in jail for the rape of a female hitchhiker whom he held captive in that state.

At the time of Hayley's disappearance it is understood Wark told police and others he was in hospital and someone else had been looking after his property.

It is understood police did not consider him a suspect.

In December last year, former major crime squad detective-sergeant Eddie Rowe said the investigation into the 1999 disappearance of Hayley Dodd was "written off" too early as a missing person case because of budget restraints - even though the police officers involved were convinced she had been murdered.

A coronial inquest into Hayley’s disappearance was scheduled for January but was postponed pending the result of further investigations.


The West Australian

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