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The unsolved murder of an Adelaide mother and her teenage daughter

Posted on 13/05/2020

Today marks 20 years since the disappearance and suspected murder of teenager Melissa Brown (also known as Melissa Trussell).

The 15-year old was with her 33-year old mother, Rosemary – whose body was later found in mangroves north of Adelaide.

While Melissa is thought to have also been murdered and her body disposed in the same area, no trace of her has ever been found.

The pair had been residents at the Windsor Gardens Caravan Park, along with Rosemary’s young son.

On 3 May 2000 the family was evicted because of unpaid rent and complaints about youths loitering around their caravan.

They moved into the caravan of another park resident, Mark Nicholls, at his invitation.

Three days later, on 7 May 2000, all four were evicted from the caravan park and slept at the Garden Island boat ramp in Mr Nicholls’ caravan.

The following day, Rosemary arranged for them to stay in the yard of a friend’s home in Blair Athol in Mr Nicholl’s caravan.

Mr Nicholls was the last person to see Rosemary and Melissa at about 1.30am on Saturday 13 May 2000, when they left the caravan on foot to find Rosemary’s son.

Rosemary’s handbag was discovered later that day in Stirling Street, Northfield. It was not handed into police until 23 May 2000 after a public appeal about the missing women.

On Sunday 2 July 2000, Rosemary’s body was discovered in the mangroves at Garden Island.

Melissa has never been found and is suspected to have been murdered.

Numerous people have been questioned at length over the murders but there is no firm suspect.

The investigation has been hampered by a lack of crime scene evidence and very little forensic evidence.

A reward of $200,000 is available for information about the murder of Rosemary Brown and a $1 million reward is available for information on Melissa’s murder and the recovery of her body.


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