Police searched a rural area of NSW for the grave of missing teacher Marion Barter after a man reported a vision of where she was buried.
Police checked a rural area of NSW for the grave of missing teacher Marion Barter after a man said he had a “premonition” and knew where she was buried.
Documents provided to an ongoing inquest into Barter’s suspected death reveal police have received a series of tip offs about her possible location.
In one instance, a man attended Penrith police station on May 8, 2019, after seeing a photograph of the mother-of-two in a magazine.
The man provided a precise location for the gravesite, off an unnamed road near Auburn Vale Rd, Auburn Vale, 570km northwest of Sydney.
“(He) stated he experience (sic) a premonition and knows where the body is buried,” a police report states.
More than two years later, Detective Senior Constable Timothy Atkins from Inverell police station followed up on the report at the request of NSW homicide squad detectives investigating Barter’s disappearance.
Constable Atkins said in a sworn statement that he went to a working farm on the outskirts of Inverell on June 23, 2021, and spoke to one of the property’s owners.
The woman had never noticed any irregularities near a bend in their driveway, “but at present the grass is long”, his statement reads.
“She stated that during the severe drought which has just past (sic), the area was just dirt and they did not notice anything unusual in the area,” Constable Atkins stated.
“I then drove down the driveway to the GPS coordinates as provided in (the) information report. I looked around the area and the spot as indicated in the report.”
Constable Atkins was “unable to locate anything of interest” while walking along the edge of the driveway and fence line. He attached eight photographs of the area to his statement.
“I did not notice any depressions in the ground that may resemble a burial site,” he stated.
There has been no trace of Barter since 1997, when she quit her job at The Southport School on the Gold Coast, sold her home, secretly changed her name and withdrew large sums of cash.
It has since been revealed she had a relationship before she vanished with convicted conman Ric Blum, who has been accused of deceiving and stealing from women around the world. Mr Blum, now 83 and living in Ballina in northern NSW, denies any involvement in the disappearance.
Police have received reports of possible sightings of Barter at various locations, inquest documents show. In NSW, these include at a Seventh Day Adventist Op Shop in Mullumbimby, as well as sites in Riverwood, Tyalgum, the Byron Bay hinterland, Campbelltown and Coffs Harbour.
There have also been reports of possible sightings in Margate in Tasmania and in Perth. None were confirmed sightings, and police “proof of life” checks have found no sign of Barter for more than 25 years.
Detective Senior Constable Sasha Pinazza from the NSW homicide squad said in a statement provided to the inquest that a long list of checks had been conducted with state, federal and international authorities.
These include checks with the Australian Taxation Office, Australian Electoral Commission, Australian Border Force and state births, deaths and marriages registries and on driver’s licence and traffic records. NSW State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan, presiding over the inquest, will hold new hearings in May.