South Coast toddler Cheryl Grimmer's kidnapper and suspected killer still alive: police

NSW Police have made a breakthrough in the unsolved abduction of a three-year-old girl from a Wollongong beach almost 50 years ago.

Cheryl Grimmer disappeared from outside a shower block near Fairy Meadow Beach on January 12, 1970 but no trace of her was found despite an extensive search at the time.

Police believe they have now identified a suspect - a teenager who would be in his 60s now - after finding information that was missed in the original investigation.

He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 152cm or 5-feet tall, with a medium build, brown hair, blue eyes and fair complexion.

At the time, it is believed he was aged between 16 and 17, and would now be aged in his early 60s.

Police believe the man is still alive.

Wollongong Local Area Command Crime Manager Detective Inspector Brad Ainsworth said Cheryl’s disappearance is a mystery they still desperately want to solve.

“Cheryl’s kidnapping sparked a massive manhunt and stunned the Illawarra,” Det Insp Ainsworth said.

“Cheryl’s dad, Vince, a former soldier, and her mother, Carole, died never knowing what happened to their daughter.

“The witnesses’ return to the beach has yielded promising results, and we hope someone in the community may be able to help us identify this male youth.

“We would dearly love to provide answers to Steve and his family, solve this matter for the people of the Illawarra, and ultimately provide Cheryl with some dignity in death,” Det Insp Ainsworth said.