Elaine Johnson, 17, and Kerry Anne Joel, 18, went missing from the Sutherland Shire in Sydney on February 1, 1980. They were last seen together in Cronulla, and there has been no official record of either teen having accessed important services since their disappearance, according to The Daily Telegraph.
“I’m so, so sorry,” deputy state corner Mary Jerram told the missing teen's families during an inquest into the case in the State Coroner’s court in Glebe this week. ‘I think we have to assume there must have been foul play.'
She has referred the case to the Unsolved Homicide Squad.
During the inquest, the court heard that the girls’ disappearances bore similarities those investigated by Strike Force Fenwick, which looked into the disappearances of 14 missing girls in the ’70s and ’80s in the Hunter Region. Several were believed to have been murdered by Milat, who worked in the area at the time.
Outside court, Kerry Anne Joel’s mother Judy Rose told News.com.au that she felt that the investigation, led by Detective Senior Constable Richard McNally, was “the first time in all these years I’ve felt somebody was really looking for Kerry.”