The kidnapping of Cheryl Grimmer from NSW beach 52 years ago is now the focus of the podcast, giving the family new hope

Fifty-two years to the day since three-year-old Cheryl Grimmer was abducted from Fairy Meadow beach in Wollongong, family members are visiting her memorial plaque, paying tribute to her and still searching for answers.

Below photos of Cheryl and her family members looking young and exuberant before the tragedy, is a box of flowers wrapped in a pink ribbon and a pink teddy bear.

“We still live in the hope that one day someone… who knows something will come forward and do the right thing and tell the police what they know,” said brother Ricki Nash, who was the last member of the family to see Cheryl alive.

“And like I’ve said over the years, you can’t hide it. Someone knows the truth.”

“Cheryl is probably dead”

In 2011, a coroner ruled that Cheryl was probably dead, but the circumstances surrounding her death remained unknown.

Despite a reshuffled police investigation that resulted in an arrest in 2017, the case was dismissed when it went to court two years later as crucial evidence was ruled inadmissible.

Ricki Nash and daughter Melanie Grimmer at the Fairy Meadow memorial plaque to Cheryl Grimmer.(ABC Illawarra: Nick McLaren)

The man, named Mercury, confessed, but because he was 17 at the time and the interview was conducted without a parent, adult or lawyer present, the court felt that it could not be used.

It’s a situation that still visibly upsets Ricki and her daughter, but today they’re trying to focus on Cheryl.

“This place is a place we can come and remember her and her spirit,” said Melanie Grimmer.

“It’s a place for me all alone, it’s a place for my kids, so they know their aunt and their family history, it’s a place for my dad, it’s a place for his brothers . “

A sanitary block and a historical image of a girl.
Cheryl Grimmer and the changing rooms at Fairy Meadow Beach in Wollongong, where she was last seen in January 1970.(ABC News: Billy Cooper)

The podcast documents the twists and turns

Cheryl Grimmer’s story has now been turned into an eight-part podcast series by BBC reporter Jon Kay.

He lives in Bristol, where the Grimmer family of six emigrated in 1968, but he only learned of what happened on Fairy Meadow beach in Wollongong decades later.

A man in a suit stands on a beach
Bristol-based journalist Jon Kay is fascinated by the Cheryl Grimmer case after learning that she has emigrated from the British city.(Provided: Jon Kay)

“A few years ago I suddenly got an alert on my phone, like a Google Alert about a story about a little girl from Bristol who went missing on Fairy Meadow beach all those years ago, and I had never heard of it, ”Kay said.

“And I was like ‘What? This is so intriguing.’

“So I started knocking on family doors [members] who had stayed in the UK, and none of them wanted to talk about it. ”

Kay eventually made contact with Cheryl’s older brother, Ricki Nash, and around the same time the case started to move again.

A line of people searches an area of ​​tall grass.
Despite extensive searches near Fairy Meadow Beach over the years, no trace of Cheryl Grimmer has been found.(ABC News)

NSW Police continue to investigate the crime, but the urgency has died down.

“The investigation into the disappearance of Cheryl Grimmer remains the responsibility of the Unresolved Homicides Unit of the Homicide Squad,” said a police statement.

“A million dollar award for information leading to the recovery of Cheryl’s body and the circumstances surrounding her disappearance remains in place. “

‘Fairy Meadow’ podcast episodes 1 and 2 are available on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts, with new episodes every Wednesday.

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