IT’S been nine years since Andrew Russell seemingly vanished into thin air, but not a day goes by that his family doesn’t think of him.
Andrew Russell, then aged 23, was last seen leaving a home on Slim Street, Bathurst, about 8pm on Tuesday, June 2, 2009.
As Mr Russell left the house, he said he was going to see his family.
It was his father’s birthday and he had bought him a card. But he never made it there and he has not been seen nor heard from since.
Mr Russell’s stepmother, Sue Wallace, said his disappearance was the beginning of a nine-year-nightmare which never gets any easier.
“Even as the years go by, it’s still hard,” she said.
All Ms Wallace and Mr Russell’s father Bruce Herbert want is to bring their son home.
“We miss Drew and think of him every day, we wish we could one day finally bring him home,” she said.
Earlier this year, NSW Police offered a $750,000 reward, the second-highest in the state, for information leading to the recovery of Mr Russell’s remains. The family hopes the reward will finally bring them closure.
“It’s been a long time coming, but it changes everything,” Ms Wallace said.
“I think now we will see that money is more important than loyalty.”
At the time of announcing the reward, Chifley Police District commander Superintendent Paul McDonald said no family should ever have to go through the agony of not knowing what happened to their loved one.
And he said those who know something about what happened to Mr Russell now have “750,000 reasons to come forward”.
“We know someone out there can provide this information,” he said.
“We call on that person or people to come forward and give closure [to the family].”
Mr Russell left his home to visit his father on June 2, 2009, but never made it there.
Detectives attached to the then Chifley Local Area Command established a strike force investigating Mr Russell’s disappearance and presumed murder and, after a lengthy investigation, two men - Tony Simmons and Kieren Moore - were charged in relation to Mr Russell’s disappearance.
Moore was charged with being an accessory after the fact but the matter against him was discharged by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Simmons was charged with Mr Russell’s murder but was found not guilty after a judge-alone trial spanning 14 weeks before Justice Peter Hamill.
Police are urging anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Renshaw investigators to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Information will be treated confidentially.