Key find in dig at murdered teen’s NSW home
A pair of women's underwear and a dress have been found buried under the Blue Mountains house in New South Wales where murdered teen Belinda Peisley lived before she disappeared.
The items of interest were located about 30cm underground during a dig on day one of a fresh, three-day forensic search at the property in Katoomba, on Monday.
In what could be a major breakthrough in the cold case, the articles of clothing match the size and style of those believed to have been worn by the 19-year-old when she was last seen, 20 years ago. Authorities are not yet able to confirm the clothes belonged to Ms Peisley.
"During the excavation, forensic investigators from Crime Scene Services Branch located female clothing, including undergarments, buried under the house," police said in a statement released today.
The mother of two young boys has been missing since September 26, 1998. Police believe she was murdered, but despite several ground searches by local police and the homicide squad over the past two decades, her body has never been found.
The Homicide Squad's Detective Chief Inspector Grant Taylor said the latest find was of "great interest".
"The undergarments are consistent with Belinda's clothing size," he said in a statement on Tuesday.
"We will await the results of the forensic analysis, which includes DNA testing, to determine whether new lines of inquiry can be explored.
"While we remain focused on the excavation under the house, we are renewing our appeal to the community for information that may assist our investigation."
According to police, the Trow Avenue home had been searched before but a new piece of information reignited police interest earlier this year.
Ms Peisley's father Mark Wearne said life has been "difficult" since he lost his daughter but
told reporters he was pleased about the latest developments.
"I'm becoming more optimistic with the efforts police went to yesterday and the fact they have found items of clothing in such an unusual place where a person would not normally dispose of them," he said.
"The level of police presence here pleasantly surprises me.
"I'm always hopeful. Where there's life, there's hope. Even if nothing eventuates from this situation, hopefully somebody will come forward with information to police that may result in a resolution."
The Peisley family had previously been critical of earlier police investigations but Mr Wearne said he was happy to see the activity on Monday at the home.
"I'd like every copper in NSW to be here trying to solve the case," he said. "It's a very heavy presence and I'm very grateful - and I'm sure the rest of the family would be very grateful for the work they're doing."
A 2013 inquest found she likely died around the time of her disappearance but could not determine the cause or circumstances of her death.
The coroner said there was "considerable suspicion" three other people had some knowledge or involvement in her death.
Two years before Ms Peisley disappeared she had inherited a large amount of money and bought the Katoomba home.
But by the time she died Ms Peisley was a drug addict, in considerable debt and the only money coming into her account was welfare payments.
The last person to see her alive was a triage nurse at Blue Mountains Hospital. Ms Peisley had been at a party earlier in the evening and presented to the hospital with several injuries but left before seeing a doctor.
A $100,000 reward remains in place for information about Ms Peisley's disappearance.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.
- with AAP