Crime

Bronwyn Winfield’s Missing Person Case Will Be Explored In A New True Crime Podcast

Here's what we know about the case.
bronwyn winfield
Image: The Australian

Bronwyn Winfield was last seen by family at her home in Lennox Head on Sunday 16 May 1993. It took her husband 11 days to report her as missing and she’s never been found. But thanks to a new podcast from The Australian’s Hedley Thomas, her name is back in headlines.

The award-winning journalist said he hopes the podcast, Bronwyn, will encourage people to come forward with any information.

“We know from experience that people who listen to podcasts are more likely to get in touch and disclose information,” he said in an interview with News.com.au, noting that was the case with every previous podcast he’s done (including his famous The Teacher’s Pet podcast, which investigated the Lynette Dawson cold case and ultimately resulted in the prosecution of her husband, Chris Dawson, which you can read more about here).

“The former NSW Commissioner of Police even described it as the most effective crime fighting tool he had seen in all his years of policing.”

Bronwyn Winfield is one of approximately 2,600 long-term missing persons in Australia. Her husband, Jon Winfield, has always maintained he is innocent of any wrongdoing.

So, let’s review the facts so far.

What We Know About Bronwyn and Jon Winfield

According to the National Missing Persons website, Bronwyn Winfield has been missing since 16 May 1993.

She was last seen at her home at 60 Sandstone Crescent, Lennox Head, NSW, where she lived with her two children, aged five and 10 at the time.

In the podcast, she’s described as a devoted mother who was going through “a painful separation from her husband, Jon Winfield.”

“Her estranged husband reported her missing to police on the 27 May 1993,” the National Missing Persons website states.

Missing person details on Bronwyn Winfield.
Bronwyn Winfield’s missing person details reveal she would be 62 years old in 2024. Source: missingpersons.gov.au

In 2002, a coronial inquest determined that Bronwyn Winfield’s death occurred around the time of her disappearance.

But in 2009, NSW police announced a $100,000 reward to help solve the cold case, stating that it “remains an active investigation”.

“Police urge anyone who may have information about the incident, no matter how small, to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000,” the Unsolved Homicide Team Investigator at the time, Detective Chief Inspector Dennis Bray, said,

“In particular police are appealing to anyone with details about Bronwyn’s movements on the 15th and 16th of May 1993, to come forward.”

Who Is Jon Winfield?

Jon Winfield was a bricklayer by trade and the husband of Bronwyn.

The couple had separated prior to her disappearance, and while Jon was on a work trip in Sydney, Bronwyn had moved back into their marital home with her two daughters.

Jon has told police that, on the night of her disappearance, he arrived back at their home in Sandstone Crescent to find Bronwyn unpacking. After the children had gone to bed, the former partners had an argument and Jon claims that Bronwyn made a call to an unidentified person, who later came to pick her up.

Jon arrived in Sydney with the two children the next morning. He would report his wife as missing 11 days later.

Following an initial investigation into Bronwyn’s disappearance in 1993, which was later found to have been mishandled, the case was looked at again in 1998. This investigation led to a 2002 coronial inquest, which found Bronwyn died at the time of her disappearance. The coroner recommended that a “known person” should be charged for the death but the DPP declined to prosecute, citing insufficient evidence.

Jon has always vehemently denied any wrongdoing. He has never been charged in relation to the case of his missing wife.

Is Brownyn Connected To The Teacher’s Pet Podcast?

In 2018, Hedley Thomas released the true crime podcast The Teacher’s Pet, investigating the disappearance of Lyn Dawson.

Some of the key elements Thomas reported on include the marriage of Chris and Lyn Dawson, the close relationship between Chris and twin brother Paul, and Dawson’s relationship with his student Joanne Curtis.

Thomas uncovered new details throughout the podcast. Then, in December 2018, Chris Dawson was arrested. He pled “not guilty” to the murder of Lyn Dawson but was ultimately found guilty on 30 August 2022 after a nine-week trial.

Thomas was also made aware of Bronwyn Winfield’s disappearance during the making of The Teacher’s Pet but didn’t have the resources to investigate it at the time.

While his 2024 podcast Bronwyn has picked up her cold case, it’s important to note that details are still being uncovered and investigated. So, the question of whether this podcast will have any real-world influence remains to be seen.

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