CALLS to have the reward in missing Bathurst teenager, Jessica Small’s case increased to $500,000, have so far gone unanswered.
The teenager was abducted from Kelso in October 1997, and no one has ever been charged in relation to her murder.
In June 2014, Coroner Sharon Freund, handed down her findings into the missing teenager’s presumed murder, and made a recommendation that a reward, of not less than $500,000 be made for information leading to the conviction of Jessica’s killer or killers.
Six months later, NSW Police posted a reward of $100,000, which was a doubled edged sword of Jessica’s family.
At the time, they were pleased that after 17 years, a reward had been offered, but were disappointed the State Government had not taken on board the Coroner’s recommendation concerning the figure.
But almost two years on, no increase to the reward has been made, and Jessica’s mum, Ricki Small, said it’s time to address the issue.
“I’d love to see the reward increased to $500,000 like the coroner recommended,” Mrs Small said on the 20th anniversary of her daughter’s abduction last month.
When asked about Jessica’s case Police Minister Troy Grant said rewards were decided by an evaluations committee.
“The NSW Police Force’s Rewards Evaluation Advisory Committee (REAC) determines applications for offering government rewards with respect to unsolved crimes, and makes recommendations to the Minister for Police,” he said on Thursday.
While unable to comment on Jessica’s case specifically Mr Grant also said the NSW Department of Justice commenced a review of cold case rewards in early 2017 to ensure that the NSW system reflects best practice.
He said the review is being conducted by the NSW Department of Justice in consultation with the NSW Police Force.
“The review will look into the reward amounts that should be offered in NSW and in what circumstances. The review will also consider the rewards systems in other jurisdictions.”
Minister Grant said cold case rewards are used by police to generate interest in unsolved cases, to remind the public that the case remains unsolved, and to garner information where required to ensure that all avenues of information are being followed.