A 23-year-old woman went missing after leaving a private bar with someone unknown. She came from a friendly community and loved her family.
One person can imagine what will happen. The footage was taken from helicopters and extensive ground search operations. TV viewing and information rewards. Outbursts of sadness and anger. National headlines. Maybe a true crime podcast series.
But there was relative media silence on the night of February 10, 2013, when Kowanyama woman Allison Neridine Bernard went missing.
Living outside their home in Cape York, where the Mitchell River empties into the Gulf of Carpentaria, it’s rare to hear Bernard’s family describe the cheeky little girl who grew up to be a quiet, proud and loving mother . Or you know she’s a woman who loves to dance and swim in her native country.
How many people saw her family placing those hibiscus flowers around a framed photo of Bernard and her family outside Cairns Court this week, as coroner Nerida Wilson ordered police to search for her body again?
The search will be carried out at a property in the Archer River quarry, known as Bend, where Thomas Byrnes, the man last seen with Bernard home.
Burns has repeatedly denied having anything to do with Bernard’s disappearance, saying he came to his home and “wandered around.”
At Wilson’s request, nearby mines and dams will also be searched. Wilson said she would ask the Queensland Police Commissioner to review the initial investigation into Bernard’s disappearance.
Although Alison Bernard was missing for nine years, unknown to much of the public, her family has to live with her mysterious disappearance every day.
“They don’t know where the mother is ,” Kilroy said.
“The sadness, you can feel it, it’s clear.”
She doesn’t believe a renewed search will find the missing women. But Kilroy, for the sake of Bernard’s family, hopes that’s the case.
“That way Ms. Bernard can be taken home and buried culturally and her soul can rest in peace,” she said.
The third meeting of the social study is expected to be held at the end of this year.