Aboriginal woman Petronella Albert was 22 years old when she vanished in Broome more than 18 years ago. Now, the West Australian Coroner's Court is examining the circumstances surrounding her suspected death, with an inquest being held in the state's Kimberley region.
4 Jul 2017 - 6:23 PM  UPDATED 4 Jul 2017 - 6:23 PM

Counsel assisting the coroner Lyle Housiaux said on Tuesday that the last confirmed sighting of Ms Albert was when she returned home from the Nippon Bar on April 28, 1999, spoke with her de facto partner Jason Cook, then left in a taxi.

Sergeant Housiaux said it was unclear what happened to Ms Albert after that time.

She failed to return home the next day and, although that was not unusual, it was out of character for her to not maintain contact with Mr Cook and her family.

Mr Cook searched for Ms Albert and on May 3, 1999, went to the Broome Police Station to report her missing.

But the case was closed later that year after detectives received a statement from one of Ms Albert's cousins, who claimed to have seen her at a Perth railway station, Sgt Housiaux said.

In March 2007, the case was reviewed by the Special Crime Squad, which determined Ms Albert's disappearance was suspicious and she may have been a victim of foul play. 

The State Crime Operations Squad reviewed the case in October 2015 and a new investigation was launched.

"The new investigation identified a number of lines of inquiry, which were investigated, however, Ms Albert still remains missing," Sgt Housiaux said.

He said Ms Albert was believed to be dead and there had been no trace of her.

Several witnesses will be called during the inquest.


If you have any information about Petronella’s disappearance, make a report online or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, where all calls are strictly confidential, and rewards are offered. Please quote Reference Number 5305.