POLICE have executed a search warrant at a Waratah home in relation to the cold case murder of Hunter woman Melissa Hunt nearly 27 years ago.
Unsolved Homicide Squad detectives returned to the region on Tuesday after receiving new information in relation to Ms Hunt's brutal murder.
The body of Melissa Hunt, then aged 22, was found near the weir wall of Burrenjim Dam, Bluegum Creek at Stockrington, on Monday April 25, 1994. Police divers have returned to the dam this week for a further search of the crime scene.
A post mortem at the time found she died of head injuries before being thrown into the water, weighted down by sandstone rocks placed inside her clothes. She suffered 11 fractures to her skull during the ordeal.
Strike Force Impey, comprised of detectives from Lake Macquarie and the State Crime Command's Homicide Squad, was formed to investigate her death; however no arrests have been made.
The matter was referred to the Unsolved Homicide Unit following a Coronial Inquest in 1998.
A formal review of the investigation was conducted under the new unsolved framework and is now under re-investigation by detectives attached to Strike Force Circulo.
In December last year, the NSW Government, together with the State Crime Command's Homicide Squad, announced a $1 million reward for information and renewed their appeal to the community to come forward with any information that may assist detectives.
Following the reward announcement, police received information relating to the investigation and have subsequently returned to the state's Hunter Region on Tuesday.
Unsolved Homicide Squad detectives, assisted by the Forensic Evidence and Technical Services Command (FETS), executed a crime scene warrant at a home at Lambton Road, Waratah, while Police divers conduct a secondary search of the Burrenjim Dam.
Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty, said Strike Force Circulo detectives are specifically looking to locate any remaining forensic evidence that could assist the investigation.
"This Sunday marks the 27th anniversary of Melissa's murder and detectives are hopeful that the new information we have received, together with today's searches, will progress the investigation," Det Supt Doherty said.
"Police are exploring a number of new lines of inquiry, including whether Melissa regularly attended a home at Waratah and if a domestic incident took place at the residence prior to her death.
"Detectives are also continuing to liaise with interstate law enforcement partners to make contact with associates and witnesses, who are now residing in other states - including South Australia, Queensland and Victoria - to ensure no stone is left unturned.
"As our investigations into Melissa's death continue, we are urging anyone with information to contact police so we may provide much-needed answers to Melissa's family."
Investigations under Strike Force Circulo are continuing.
More information to come, police are expected to address the media at 8am.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: