A coronial inquest into a Katoomba teenage mum’s disappearance nearly 15 years ago will resume in Katoomba Local Court today (Wednesday).
Last Friday police were conducting a ground search in bushland behind a school in Blackheath and were using a cadaver dog to search for Belinda Peisley’s body.
Ms Peisley, 19, had received a large inheritance, attracting new people into her life before she disappeared from the Mountains in September 1998, leaving behind two young sons.
Detective Inspector Grant Taylor said detectives were confident Ms Peisley had been murdered and her body had been disposed of in the area they were searching.
The murder investigation was entering its final stages, he said.
New information given to police in recent months resulted in detectives seizing a maroon 1970 Jaguar from a property on the NSW mid-north coast last week.
Police believe the Jaguar was in the Katoomba area on September 26 and 27, 1998, about the time of Ms Peisley’s disappearance.
Forensic officers are examining the car, which now has a different owner than in 1998.
When the case reopened last year her father Mark Wearne said his daughter’s life was only just beginning when she went missing.
“Of course we would like to hold out some hope but deep down the family has accepted that Belinda is gone,” he said. “But until we know for sure, this will continue to haunt her sons and the rest of my family.
“It is an unimaginably cruel situation for my grandsons who never really got to know their mum.”
Ms Peisley had inherited hundreds of thousands of dollars from an uncle before she disappeared from her Katoomba home, and had also started using drugs and associating with “sleaze bags” around the time of her disappearance, her family said.
A $100,000 reward from the State Government has been offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the presumed murder of Ms Peisley.
Mr Wearne, said on Friday that he believed her drug use and the people she was associating with at the time led to her death. But the seizure of the Jaguar had given him hope that he would finally have some closure.
The case was re-opened at the end of 2010 after one of the last people to see Ms Peisley came forward to say she found the house ransacked.
NSW Police Minister, Michael Gallacher, said Ms Peisley’s family deserved answers.
“Regardless of Belinda’s activities, two young boys have been left without a mother,” he said. “There are questions that the Peisley family and Belinda’s two young sons need answered.”
The matter is being heard before Deputy State Coroner Paul MacMahon this week.