Police in Australia appear to be closer than ever to solving a murder mystery that started with the sudden disappearance of a 33-year-old mother almost four decades ago and led Wednesday to the arrest of her former husband.
Chris Dawson was arrested Wednesday over the murder of his former wife Lynette Dawson, the latest twist in a case documented in the wildly popular Australian true crime podcast “Teacher’s Pet.”
The podcast alleges Chris Dawson, a former professional rugby player turned high school teacher, was having an affair with one of his 16-year-old students, who was also the family’s babysitter, when his wife vanished from the Sydney neighborhood of Bayview in January 1982.
Dawson, now 70 years old, has long denied any involvement in his wife’s disappearance, despite two coronial inquests that concluded he killed her, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.
Dawson, who played for Newtown Jets rugby league team in the early 1970s, appeared in a Queensland court following his arrest Wednesday. Bail was denied and a request to extradite him to the neighboring state of New South Wales was approved.
Dawson’s arrest comes months after new evidence, including witness statements, was presented to prosecutors in April, which helped investigators “tie pieces of the puzzle together,” New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told reporters Wednesday.
Fuller expressed confidence in the strength of the new evidence, which he said included witness statements, despite the fact that police have never recovered Lynette Dawson’s body. “We’ve solved homicides before without identifying the body,” Fuller said.
“We would ideally liked to have found the body of Lynette Dawson, not just for the brief of evidence but also for the family. And we certainly won’t give up on that search.”
Fuller said authorities spoke to the family of Lynette Dawson and informed them of the arrest. He said family was “relieved.”
Dawson’s brother, Greg Simms, told Nine News he was emotional upon hearing the news, crying and embracing his family.
“We’ve always been determined to find the truth and that’s the reason why we’ve fought to keep Lyn’s name alive and out there with all the different media,” he said.