32 years on and Renee Aitkin still missing

With National Missing Persons Week happening and a major search scheduled for missing man Ray Speechley at Dalmeny this weekend, lets not forget the tragic case of Renee Aitkin.

Her disappearance 32 years ago has never been solved and shook Narooma to the core when it happened. Today there is a memorial to her in the form of a plaque on the Narooma headland.

Five-year-old Renee went missing from her home in Narooma on February 17, 1984. She was last seen in her bed at 11.15pm the previous evening and was noticed missing by her mum at 4.45am.

The memories of the search for Renee remain strong for Bruce Allen, a founding member of the Narooma VRA rescue squad and the current captain of the Tilba RFS brigade.

It has been said that the search for Ray Speechley this weekend could be the biggest search the town has experienced, but Mr Allen said the search in 1984 was massive and went for 14 days straight and involved police, SES, VRA, RFS and members of the public.

The search for Renee extended from Mystery Bay to Bodalla, and after the initial search, there were more weekend searches over the next couple of years, or when police had a new lead, he said.

It changed the whole the whole demeanor of Narooma going from a quiet coastal village to a place full of suspicion at that time, Mr Allen said.

He was hopeful the outcome of this weekends search would be more successful and provide some closure to the family of Ray Speechley, 77, who went missing on July 7 after running away from the IRT Dalmeny aged-care facility where he was on respite after his Alzheimers disease worsened.

Little Renee meanwhile remains missing. A coronial inquest in 2003 was told police were convinced Brian James "Spider" Fitzpatrick kidnapped Renee, but the convicted sex offender died in a car accident just prior to that inquest.

Renees case made news again when NSW detectives said they would interview a former cellmate of the killer of nine-year-old Bondi schoolgirl Samantha Knight, after claims he repeatedly drew pictures of a girl he named ''Renee''.

The new information was from the former cellmate, who now lives in the Netherlands. He played chess with Michael Guider, who was convicted of killing Samantha Knight, who disappeared in 1986, two years after Renee vanished. Guider has never revealed what he did with Knight's body.


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