Basic Trendy

The Two Case: Different or same?

The Two Case Different or same

On November 22, 2014 last year, two in memoriam notices appeared in the Ballarat Courier for Tracey Howard.

It was 16 years to the day since Ms. Howard walked from a nightspot in the local city and was never noticed alive again.

Her choked and naked corpse was discovered 37 hours later outside Ballarat.

UNSOLVED HOMICIDES: Search our Cold Case Files

For whatever reason, it was one of those cases that never commanded saturation coverage in the media.

But the classified ads exhibited Tracey Howard — an enthusiastic and friendly 33-year-old — would always be recalled by those who loved her.

There is another group of people who have not forgotten the vicious fate of Ms. Howard.

Specialist cold case detectives believe they know why she perished and have assessed the case as highly solvable.

To back that belief, the force recently announced a $1 million prize for anyone able to help bring the murderer to justice.

Ms. Howard was last noticed alive as she left Cheers nightclub, a lively over-30s nightspot, at about 3 am.

She had gone out with a girlfriend in a disastrous spur-of-the-moment decision.

A day-and-a-half later, Tracey’s corpse was discovered off Clarkes Hill Rd at Pootilla, a small settlement about 20km east of Ballarat.

The murderer had gone too little effort to hide her.

There was no indication of a sexual attack, despite clothes being scattered over about 500 meters.

Dozens of taxi drivers were questioned to see whether they had picked up Ms. Howard that night, without success.

Ms. Howard was one of three women killed in the Ballarat region in the space of eight years whose murders stay unsolved.

Nurse Nina Nicholson was bashed to death at Clunes in 1991 and Belinda Williams was murdered at Buninyong in 1999.

The deaths are not related, but each has attracted a $1 million reward.

With every year that passes — in theory — the likelihood of these cases being solved is lessened.

But the injection of a cash bounty has the potential to stimulate inquiries, potentially influencing loyalties that have frayed with time.

Anyone with data can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Share if you like it