Before police went public yesterday with the news of a breakthrough in Ms Spiers’ case, they met privately with her parents to confirm Bradley Robert Edwards had been charged with her murder.
For 22 years, Don and Carol Spiers had believed their daughter was the first victim of a serial killer.
They were left waiting and wondering in December 2016 when Mr Edwards was charged with the murders of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon, who also vanished from Claremont in the months after their daughter.
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said yesterday that the new charge came after extensive inquiries but refused to say what evidence investigators had.
When Ms Spiers disappeared in January 1996 after a night out in Claremont, her parents had immediately feared the worst.
She was close to her family and when she did not return to the unit she shared with her sister and failed to turn up to work, a police inquiry was launched.
Ms Spiers had celebrated Australia Day 1996 with friends at Cottesloe’s Ocean Beach Hotel before her sister took the group to Claremont so they could go to Club Bay View.
By 2am, Ms Spiers was still in high spirits but was tired and ready to go home. She made loose plans with a friend to share a taxi but the friend lingered to check whether another mate wanted to leave with them.
By the time they said their goodbyes, Ms Spiers was gone.
Police say she left the nightclub alone, chatting briefly with a doorman before heading to a nearby phone box to book a taxi to South Perth. The call was placed at 2.06am and Ms Spiers told the dispatcher she would be waiting at the corner of Stirling Highway and Stirling Road.
When the taxi arrived eight minutes later, she had vanished.
In the days after her disappearance, her friends and relatives saturated Perth with “missing person” flyers in a desperate bid for information.
But the former Iona Presentation College boarder, who worked as a secretary at a town planners consultancy in Subiaco, has not been seen since.
Less than five months later, Ms Rimmer, 23, disappeared after a night out in Claremont.
Then Ms Glennon, 27, went missing in March 1997, giving rise to the undeniable prospect that a serial killer was stalking the streets. Unlike the other two victims, Ms Spiers’ body has not been found.
The Spiers family did not want to speak publicly yesterday but last year Mr Spiers spoke of his hope that they would one day have answers about where his daughter’s remains were and what had happened to her.
“We’re very anxious but I’ve said all along that I’m quite optimistic that there would be a result,” he said. “Over the 20 years I’ve never ever thought there would never be a result.
“Of course, we want closure but that’s not the only thing we want ... we just hope that there’s a chance it may happen.”
This article originally appeared on The West Australian.