$1m reward for unsolved murder



Victoria Police believe the notorious child predator dubbed “Mr Cruel” is still alive and will have hoarded items stolen from his victims.

On the 25th anniversary of Melbourne schoolgirl Karmein Chan’s abduction, police have offered a $1 million reward for information about her unsolved murder.

The 13-year-old was abducted by a balaclava-clad man from her Templestowe home in 1991, after he had forced her two sisters into a wardrobe.

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Her body was found a year later at Edgars Creek in Thomastown. She had been shot three times.

Initial investigations linked Karmein’s abduction to similar attacks on 10-year-old Sharon Wills and 13-year-old Nicola Lynas.

In those cases, the girls were taken from their homes, molested and then released.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana, said the offender in those cases went to extremes to cover his identity.

“This crime, or series of crimes, had a significant impact on the community,” he said.

“Even my own children were worried. It caused a lot of concern.

“I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a crime that received so much information from the community.”

Police have checked more than 10,000 public tip-offs, searched 30,000 homes and interviewed 27,000 people over the case.

“We have always maintained that there will be someone in the community who is an associate or knows the offender in this case,” Assistant Commissioner Fontana said.

He said Karmein was probably killed because she was “feisty” and could identify him.

‘Why did Mr Cruel stop?’

Victoria Police have not ruled out the possibility they had unwittingly interviewed Mr Cruel, an act that might have put an end to his offending, or that he had been jailed for other crimes.

“Not to solve the case has always lingered on my mind, personally,” Assistant Commissioner Fontana said.

Mr Cruel is believed to be a well read, intelligent, cautious man who put a lot of planning into his crimes.

“We have always thought someone would know and be close to him and know it was him,” he said.

Police were unable to eliminate 32 people interviewed over the years, but are confident they can identify Karmein’s killer with the right help.

“There will be things that this person knows that we know that will identify him,” Assistant Commissioner Fontana said.

Police said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) may grant anyone with information on the case indemnity from prosecution.

The $1 million reward will be paid at the discretion of police for information leading to an arrest or conviction over the murder.


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