The mystery of Marilyn Wallman lives on
MUFFLED screams from the back of a cane paddock were the last sounds Rex Wallman heard his 14-year-old sister make.
From the moment he saw Marilyn Wallman's abandoned bicycle and heard those chilling screams on March 21, 1972, Mr Wallman knew his sister had been kidnapped.
Initially treated as a disappearance and later upgraded to a murder investigation, the case of Marilyn Wallman baffled Mackay police and her family from the outset.
More than 40 years later the Wallmans are still desperately seeking information about Marilyn's death, hoping to find some closure in a case that continues to devastate generations of her family.
"I knew she was kidnapped," Mr Wallman said.
"When I turned up on the site my brother David went back home to get mum and I stayed on the roadside and heard noises down on the other side of the cane paddock… muffled screams," he said. "When mum got back to us we all took off, David and I in one direction and mum in another.
"The little headland… between the paddocks, there was a little creek bed. At that time of the year it was nice, green, fresh grass and we could clearly see where two people had walked through very recently.
"But by the time everybody got there and started helping and searching… all that was trampled."
Mr Wallman said the family was once again amping up its efforts to find information about what really happened on that quiet Eimeo road 41 years ago.
"Eimeo was very tiny back then, everybody knew everybody else," he said.
"We still maintain someone had to see something.
"As time goes on now we're hoping that people who might have a guilty conscience or are getting on a bit might want to get something off their chest."
He said the family's main focus was to find Marilyn's remains in a desperate attempt for closure.
"It's always been our main focus to find Marilyn and we know very well that we're probably going to find Marilyn's remains," he said.
"Being 41 years old the chances are that we may not find the person (who did it), they may already be deceased. There were lots of suspects over the years but nobody the police could ever pin it on."
A $250,000 reward is still on offer for anyone with information leading to the apprehension and conviction of persons responsible.
- 7.42am: Marilyn Joy Wallman, 14, left home on a bicycle and began her ride to the Rural Youth Hall, at the junction of Wallman and Eimeo Road in Mackay, to catch the school bus at 8am.
- 7.52am: Marilyn's two brothers Rex and David Wallman left home, following the same route as their sister. The brothers found Marilyn's bicycle and school port by the side of the road approximately one kilometre from home.
- 7.53am: David Wallman raced home and returned with his mother while Rex Wallman waited on the roadside near Marilyn's abandoned bike. Rex Wallman heard "muffled screams" from the other side of a nearby cane paddock while he waited.
- 8am: David, Rex and Daphne Wallman split-up to search for Marilyn. The brothers walked to a creek nearby and discovered two sets of tracks leading through long grass.
- Shortly after Marilyn was kidnapped: Community members arrived to help with the search, trampling any evidence of tracks.
- Later that day: Police arrived to begin their investigation. The case was first treated as a disappearance and later changed to a murder investigation.
- 1974: Part of a skull is found in Mirani. Police would not comment on reports that the skull belonged to Marilyn.
- July 19, 2011: Police investigate new leads into the case, renewing the family's hope that Marilyn would be found. A police spokesman said a number of people were being investigated but would not reveal any other details.
- June, 2012: Marilyn's family launches a Facebook page to encourage the public to come forward with any information about the case.
"UNTIL I die" is the powerful response Rex Wallman gives when asked how long he will fight to find the answers behind his sister's disappearance 41 years ago.
"Most people come up to us all the time after a story comes out in the paper and they say 'why do they bring it up all the time… why does the paper run these stories'," he said.
"They don't understand, we need to know what happened.
"It's not easy for us to do this. It affects our kids and our grandkids…it affects people around us that are close to it.
"It's difficult but it's something that we have to do and continue to do to get answers."
WALLMANS STILL TOUCHED
THE Mackay community was quick to respond the day Marilyn Wallman was reported missing.
Forty-one years later her family is still touched by the compassion shown in the hours, days and weeks after her disappearance.
"We're so thankful for the people who turned up to help us search that day," Rex Wallman said. "People came from all over Mackay. We still hear stories when we mention our name in public.
"Locals will always say something like 'my dad helped in the search', or 'my mum was in the hall and she helped make sandwiches'."