THE heartbroken families of three local murder victims have welcomed the announcement that rewards for unsolved murders will be set at $1 million.
The families of murdered Clunes nurse Nina Nicholson, Buninyong mother Belinda Williams and missing (presumed dead) Maryborough boy Terry Floyd now hope the increased reward will encourage people to come forward.
“For those of us who have lost loved ones to murder, we live in hope ... that’s all we’ve got,” Terry Floyd’s brother Daryl said.
The announcement of the increased reward follows a review by Chief Commissioner Ken Lay in June that found the current system was unnecessarily complex.
A police spokesman said all rewards from Saturday would align with the maximum penalty for the particular crime. Rewards tied to level-one crimes attracting life imprisonment, such as murder, will be set at $1 million.
Level-two crimes with 25 years’ jail will get reward amounts of $350,000-$500,000, while level-three crimes would be $250,000-$350,000. Older cases in which rewards have been offered will be reviewed, with a view to have their amounts increased.
Mr Floyd had been lobbying for equity in the reward system for some time. Together with Peter MacDiarmid, the father of murder victim Sarah MacDiarmid, Mr Floyd had written a letter to Commissioner Lay calling for uniformity in the system.
“Hopefully, the increased reward will be enough for people to come forward and solve these cases,” Mr Floyd said.
Terry, then aged 12, vanished from the intersection of the Sunraysia and Pyrenees highways, near Avoca, on June 28, 1975. For the past few years, Mr Floyd has been searching the disused Morning Star goldmine at Avoca in the hopes of finding Terry’s remains.
Nina Nicholson’s parents, Ann and Spike Jones, also welcomed the news of the increased reward.
“Not a day goes by that we don’t shed a tear for our beautiful daughter,” Mrs Jones said. “Someone out there knows what happened and who killed her.”
Ms Nicholson was found bashed to death on the back verandah of her home by her father and brother on the night of September 10, 1991.
The case remains unsolved.
Meanwhile, the reward for information in case of murdered Buninyong woman Belinda Williams doubles from $500,000 to $1 million.
Ms Williams’ mother Shirley Macey hopes the increased reward will encourage people to come forward.
“Every day, I anguish over who killed my beautiful daughter. It’s soul-destroying,” she said.
Ms Williams, a 36-year-old mother of one, disappeared from her home on June 25, 1999. Her body was discovered by bushwalkers on the Mount Buninyong Access Road two weeks later.
Anyone with information about these or other unsolved murders can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.