THE parents of Rachel Antonio are thankful police investigating their daughter's 1998 disappearance are finally taking steps to examine the Bowen tip.

Today, forensic officers from Brisbane will explore the town's dump in relation to the disappearance and suspected homicide of the 16-year-old almost 20 years ago.

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Rachel Antonio: Bowen tip to be dug up in homicide case

Mackay police district Detective Inspector Nikki Colfs said 10 officers would be involved in the one-day exploratory examination of the tip, which is designed to determine the level of refuse when Rachel disappeared.

"We will endeavour to undertake a scientific evaluation of the refuse and the environmental conditions that were present in 1998," Det Insp Colfs said.

It's been nearly 20 years since their daughter disappeared, but it doesn't get any easier for Ian and Cheryl Antonio (above).

"It's been a long time and we're glad they are starting because we have been waiting for quite a while for them to search the tip... we are glad they are making a start on it," Mrs Antonio said yesterday.

"We are very thankful that the Queensland Police Service are doing this for us," Mr Antonio added.

 

Ian and Cheryl Antonio outside the Bowen Courthouse during the first stage of the inquest into their daughter Rachel's disappearance.
Ian and Cheryl Antonio outside the Bowen Courthouse during the first stage of the inquest into their daughter Rachel's disappearance. Janessa Ekert

Heavy machinery will be used to access refuse layers down to 1998 levels as part of the evaluation.

Det Insp Colfs said the Antonio family deserved to know what happened to Rachel, and the Queensland Police Service remained committed to finding her.

In May 2016, a coronial inquest was held into Rachel's disappearance and suspected homicide.

The inquest implicated former Bowen Surf Life Saving Club captain Robert Hytch over her death.

The Daily Mercury reported in September last year that Mr Hytch wanted a review of the Coroner's findings.

Rachel was last seen around 6.45pm on April 25, 1998 walking along Queens Beach Esplanade in Bowen.

Police have not received any new information specifically relating to the possible location of Rachel.

A $250,000 reward for information which leads to the recovery of her remains has been offered.

Police continue to appeal for public assistance and urge anyone who may have any information to phone Policelink 131444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.



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