Roxlyn Margaret BOWIE


A woman smiles with a child in a garden

A woman in sunglasses stands holding a baby




DOB: 1951
HAIR: Brown BUILD: Thin EYES: Hazel
Roxlyn Bowie was reported as missing from Walgett, NSW on 5 June 1982, by her husband following domestic arguments.
Reported missing to: Walgett Police Station.



On Saturday 5 June 1982, Roxlyn Bowie, then aged 31, was at home on Euroka Street, Walgett, with her two young children.

Sometime during the evening, she disappeared from her home, leaving her children alone.

She was reported missing to police by family members.

At the time of her disappearance, she was described as being of Caucasian appearance, with fair complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes. She would now be aged 63.

Her disappearance is now being investigated by State Crime Command, Homicide Squad Detectives.

Anyone who knows of Roxlyn Bowie’s whereabouts or who has information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page:


Roxlyn Bowie disappearance now subject of inquest


"Devoted mother" Roxlyn Bowie had plans to hold a party for her son's second birthday but disappeared before the little boy's milestone, a coroner has heard at Dubbo.

After more than 30 years of grave concerns and fears her family hopes to find some answers.

The suspected death of the 31-year-old wife and mother at Walgett in 1982 is the subject of an inquest at Dubbo.

On its opening day yesterday Ms Bowie's two children and other family members gathered.

Also present at the inquest was John Bowie, her husband, who the inquest heard was at the time described as a "womaniser" and was later convicted of forging his wife's signature on a document during the sale of a parcel of land.

Counsel assisting the coroner Sergeant Paul Bush said Ms Bowie was a "devoted mother" and because they had no phone connected, a constant letter writer to her parents who lived in Sydney.

The first of four people sworn into the witness box yesterday was Detective Inspector Russell Oxford.

A number items including letters purportedly written by Ms Bowie announcing her intention to leave her husband and children were tendered to the inquest.

One letter beginning "Dear John" was found at the Bowies' Euroka Street home on the night of Ms Bowie's disappearance while another letter addressed to her parents bore a postmark from Coonamble from the Monday after her disappearance on Saturday June 5, 1982.

"At the heart of the investigation is the authenticity of the letters," Detective Inspector Oxford said.

"A woman devoted to her children (to have left that note) - her family couldn't get over that and they still can't.

"And I share their concerns."

Detective Inspector Oxford said he believed the letters - which had been analysed - were in Ms Bowie's handwriting, which presented three avenues of inquiry.

He said they had either been written under duress, written by Ms Bowie before someone else took advantage of them or written before the 32-year-old had genuinely left her family.

He said the lack of Ms Bowie's DNA on the stamp and envelope containing the letter to her parents was "one of the most puzzling" aspects of the case and went to "the heart of the matter".

At the opening of the inquest Coroner Mary Jerram set out the inquest's purpose.

"(It) may not be able to find the cause, manner or that Roxlyn is dead, although I hope that is not the case," she said.

"I'm really sorry we meet in these circumstances. . .

"I hope if we're not able to give you all the answers that you know that people still care."

Margot Rule described cousin Ms Bowie as someone who "loved her children dearly" and was in constant contact with her parents.

Christine Maddocks, the sister of Mr Bowie, said Ms Bowie "doted on" her daughter and son and would not have walked out on them.

Ms Bowie's daughter Brenda Boyd told the inquest there was a reason why she remembered being tucked in on the night of June 5, 1982, when she was aged 6.

"That was the last time I saw my mother," she said.

The inquest continues.

Husband has history of violence: inquest

 - Daily Liberal

The husband of missing woman Roxlyn Bowie was violent in a subsequent marriage and said he had killed two young boys who tried to steal from him while in Vietnam years earlier, Dubbo Coroner's Court has heard.

Anne Bowie, a former wife of John Bowie, provided the testimony to the court yesterday, also saying he had once told her his first wife had run off with another man.

She was one of six people to give evidence on the second day of an inquest into the disappearance of Roxlyn Bowie at Walgett in 1982.

The mother of two young children was last seen at the family's Euroka Street home on June 5 of that year. On the opening day of the inquest the court had heard Roxlyn was a "devoted mother" and that Mr Bowie was at the time described as a "womaniser" and later admitted to giving her a "backhand" on several occasions.

Appearing via audio-visual link yesterday, parts of Anne's testimony brought some members of Roxlyn's family to tears. Mr Bowie was present in the court.

Anne, a nurse, met and began a relationship with Mr Bowie, an ambulance officer in Sydney within two months of the disappearance of Roxlyn. They married in 1984, but later separated, and divorced in 2008. Yesterday when questioned by counsel assisting the coroner Sergeant Paul Bush, she said "it wasn't a good relationship".

She said Mr Bowie had affairs with other women and there was "violence in the relationship".

Anne told the court the disappearance of Roxlyn wasn't often discussed.

"(John) would avoid the subject or get angry," she said.

She also recalled "at one point he told me Roxlyn had run of with the bank manager".

When asked by counsel assisting if he had ever said who the bank manager was or anything else, Anne said no. Anne was also questioned about the presence of a blue suitcase, two watches, engagement ring, other jewellery and other items at the unit they shared.

The witness was directed to a statement she had made to police in 1988, and she told the court Mr Bowie did have three rifles.

"He had one when we were purchasing our home at St Clair but my mum took out the part that makes it shoot," Anne said.

Counsel assisting asked Anne if she knew Mr Bowie had been in the army and if he had talked about his service.

She said he had talked about being in Vietnam, that he had several wives there and that he had killed two young boys there when they had tried to steal from him. When asked if the violence in their marriage had been isolated incidents, she said it "went on and on".

'I'm not sorry (the relationship) is over," she said.

"I don't have to worry about being belted up."

The inquest continues.

Husband tells Inquest told Roxlyn Bowie's 'personality changed'

 - Daily Liberal

The husband of missing woman Roxlyn Bowie has told a court at Dubbo she was not scared of him because she had no reason to be.

John Bowie yesterday gave evidence at an inquest into his wife’s disappearance from their home at Walgett in 1982.

He faced intense questioning about their relationship, the night of her disappearance and the weeks after before coroner Mary Jerram, and rejected claims by former wife Anne Bowie that he was violent.

Earlier yesterday forensic document examiner Annalise Wrzeczycki from NSW Police had provided evidence about two letters purportedly written by Roxlyn announcing her intention to leave her husband.

Mr Bowie told the court he had been in the army, including seeing active service in Vietnam and later became an ambulance officer.

He told the court he had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2002, linked to his service in Vietnam.

The court heard the Mr Bowie married Roxlyn in 1971.

Mr Bowie said the death of their prematurely-born second daughter Sharlene in 1977 aged nine days had affected them both.

He said his wife’s personality changed and he knew she didn’t like Walgett, where he was later posted. 

Roxlyn would be “chirpy one minute” but have “mood swings”.

He admitted to having affairs during his marriage to Roxlyn.

Mr Bowie told the court that on the night of June 5, 1982, he had told his wife he was going to the pub.

He said she said if he went, she wouldn’t be there when he got back, but that she had said that several times before.

As Mr Bowie provided an account of the night, counsel assisting the coroner Sergeant Paul Bush asked him if he was a bit mixed up or making it up as he went along, but Mr Bowie rejected that.

He admitted that saying Roxlyn had run off with the bank manager was just something he had said to his former wife Anne, but he said he had also told her he did not know where Roxlyn was. 

He said he had not made efforts to find his wife after he tried on the first day she went missing because he did not have the money and he had the kids and work.

He said he had asked Roxlyn’s family to look for her.

Anne Bowie had told the inquest on the previous day that her husband had been violent, but yesterday Mr Bowie said she had been the violent one, not him.

When asked about Roxlyn’s disappearance Mr Bowie said the only factor that may have contributed to wife’s disappearance was his “drinking, womanising and working”.

When asked at the end of the session if he knew anymore about Roxlyn’s disappearance, he said he knew nothing more.

Earlier yesterday Walgett resident Errolyn Dunn told the court Roxlyn and her children used to visit, but Roxlyn was “always watching the clock” and said she had to be home when her husband got home.

The inquest came to a sudden halt in the middle of the day when Margot Rule, the 86-year-old cousin of Roxlyn, collapsed and the session was adjourned for the ambulance to be called.

The inquest continues.


Missing mother 'ended my childhood': Roxlyn Bowie's daughter speaks out


The daughter of Roxlyn Bowie has told of baking cakes and other happy childhood days that ended abruptly with the disappearance of her mother.

Brenda Boyd, who was aged six the last night she saw her mother more than 30 years ago, told a coroner's court at Dubbo yesterday her "life changed forever when my mum wasn't there anymore".

Delivering a statement she had written with younger brother Warren, she at times broke into tears before continuing what Coroner Mary Jerram said was "a terrible story".Brenda spoke on the fourth and final day of an inquest into the disappearance of Roxlyn, then aged 31, from Walgett on June 5, 1982.

She said her "most affectionate" mother had always been happy to hear about her day at school and they used to bake cakes together.

Brenda said her favourite memory of her mother was watching the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana together at home. "Mum made me a veil so I could be a princess as well," she said.

She recalled at times her mother and father had argued and that her father had once tipped dinner down her mother's top.

She also told of the immediate loss she felt on June 6, 1982, the day aged six years and nine months she was told her mother had left.

"I remember eating a pie and crying so much I couldn't swallow," she said.

"I didn't understand why."

She said the subsequent marriage of her father, John Bowie, to Anne Bowie - a relationship that started within two months of her mother's disappearance - was violent.

"I remember my father pulling Anne butt-naked through the house," she said.

"I remember pushing my wardrobe against the door of the bedroom so they wouldn't get Warren and I."

She spoke of a significant milestone her mother was not there to share.

"I was 10 when Warren started school," she said.

"I remember getting him ready and walking him to and from his classroom because he was only in Kindy."

She recalled that sometimes when her father and Anne were fighting they would lock the two children out of the house.

"We'd have to sleep in the car," she said.

"We'd ask the neighbours for food.

"We had good neighbours."

Her father had other girlfriends and made other moves - Brenda told the court she had attended 13 schools and Warren had attended 16.

She recalled "Nan and Pop" whom "Warren and I loved dearly".

The couple whose only child was Roxlyn had given them the best memories of this time, taking them to the Royal Easter Show every year and on other excursions, the court heard.

Brenda said she and her brother had both suffered depression.

She said the two of them had had no contact with their father for many years.

Hearing from Roxlyn's friends during the inquest had given them "comfort and reassurance that she was the wonderful mother we remember".

Brenda thanked Detective Inspector Russell Oxford for his investigative work and "for giving Roxy a voice".

She also thanked Coroner Jerram for "letting the witnesses speak so freely" during the inquest.

Roxlyn Bowie met with foul play: coroner

 -Daily Liberal

A coroner has found a woman missing for 32 years is dead and that it was “highly likely” Roxlyn Bowie met with foul play”.

At a Dubbo court yesterday the death of Roxlyn Bowie was referred to the unsolved homicide squad.

Coroner Mary Jerram said the mother of two was last seen on June 5, 1982 at Walgett and found that she died on or about that date.

But the evidence heard at the inquest which began on Monday did not allow her to identify more about the death, and letters purportedly written by Roxlyn announcing her intention to leave remained “a puzzle”.

The coroner also said she agreed with the submission of counsel assisting the coroner Sergeant Paul Bush that there would be difficulty in accepting some of the evidence of John Bowie, husband of Roxlyn at the time of her disappearance.

“I put very little weight on it,” she said, adding she accepted Mr Bowie had been open about some of his behaviours including drinking and extramarital affairs.

The findings were delivered yesterday after three days of hearing factual evidence.

Counsel assisting had earlier yesterday said there were some issues it was fair to say were not able to be established at the inquest.

“Unfortunately the passage of time and the frailty of memory are against us,” he said.

The coroner said every witness had provided the most overwhelming evidence she had heard that Roxlyn was “utterly devoted” as a mother.

She said a tiny question mark remained on a letter, sent to Roxlyn’s parents and bearing a postmark from Coonamble on the Monday after she was last seen.

“Unfortunately the passage of time and the frailty of memory are against us,”- Sergeant Paul Bush, counsel assisting the coroner

A forensic document examiner had provided evidence to the inquest and the coroner noted 

tests on letters were not yet finished.

Roxlyn did not access the family car and the possibility of her hitchhiking did not match the person they had heard about at the inquest, the coroner said.

She said she would not dwell on it, but that Mr Bowie was in possession of guns when they were at Walgett.

Mr Bowie had been convicted of forging his wife’s signature on a land transfer document in 1984, something he had admitted to the inquest.

The coroner said Detective Inspector Russell Oxford had been on the case for 25 years and was devoted to finding answers for Roxlyn’s family.

The coroner said the mother of two was a “timid woman” and that how she had with “no money and  no access to a car” “simply vanished” was “beyond comprehension to me”.

“It’s highly likely to me she met with foul play,” she said.

The coroner said that left them with the letters as a puzzle and that there was no evidence that they were not Roxlyn’s writing.

“They remain a stumbling block,” she said.

In referring the case to the unsolved homicide squad, the coroner said she would ask that the forensic report on the letters be completed as quickly as possible.

The Roxlyn Bowie mystery: Part I

By Ashleigh Sculley - 9 News

On a winter’s night in 1982 a devoted mother of two, Roxlyn Bowie vanished without a trace.

“I could never imagine that she would leave me. She would have loved having grandchildren,” her only daughter Brenda Boyd tearfully explains.

It’s a mystery that has haunted one of New South Wales’ most experienced investigators, Detective Chief Inspector Russell Oxford.

“I’ve been working on this case for thirty years and I don’t want it to go away, I want to find out myself. I suppose in a way, the driving force behind this is Brenda’s quest for answers,” Russell says.

Brenda Boyd was just six years old when her mother dropped off the face of the earth. Now, 36 years later, she has returned to the family home in Walgett, the place where she remembers her mother kissing her goodnight for the very last time.

As she walks through the empty home with A Current Affair reporter Simon Bouda, she is filled with mixed emotions.

“All she wanted to do was be a mother, she didn’t… she wouldn’t have left us,” Ms Boyd says.

“I have good memories of my mum but also, memories of my parents fighting.”

Simon asks her, “what do you remember of that night, that last interaction you had with your mum?”

“Saying goodnight and putting us to bed and that was the last time I saw her, she was gone in the morning,” Brenda replies.

In a special A Current Affair investigation, we examine Roxlyn Bowie’s mysterious disappearance, the clues, the twists, the sadness.

“My thoughts are that something happened to her that night and it wasn’t of her doing and she wasn’t able to be there the next morning,” says Brenda.

It’s a case with startling similarities to the disappearance and suspected murder, that same year, of Sydney mother-of-two Lynette Dawson.

In recent months, the Dawson case has received worldwide attention on the back of the podcast, ‘The Teacher’s Pet.’

Two coroners recommended Lynette Dawson’s husband, Chris, be charged with her murder but no charges have been laid. Chris Dawson maintains his innocence.

Roxlyn Bowie’s case is just as mysterious and just as suspicious.

The year is 1982 and in the New South Wales outback town of Walgett, just about everyone knows everyone.

It was here where ambulance officer John Bowie was stationed, sharing a home on Euroka Street with his wife Roxlyn, their daughter Brenda and son Warren.

When their mother vanished Warren was a week away from turning two.

As reporter Simon Bouda walks through the home with Brenda, he can see that she is tormented.

“It feels different, feels so much smaller, feels like a long time ago” she recalls. Her mum’s dressing table brings back painful memories.

“She loved the royal family and we watched Charles and Diana get married, she made me a veil out of sheets so I could walk down,” she reminisces.

There’s no doubt that this has been a tough journey for Brenda Boyd, she now has two children of her own and they often talk about Nanny Roxy.

“They know she went missing, um, she didn’t go on her own, something happened to her,” Brenda tells Simon.

Neighbours last saw Roxlyn Bowie on the afternoon of June 5, 1982 hanging clothes on the line.

John Bowie says he reported his wife missing the next day but local police told him not to worry, that she’d be home in a few days but she never returned.

Mr Bowie later told police that the couple had argued and said his wife had warned him that if he went to the pub, she’d leave him. When he returned from the pub, Roxlyn was gone.

Detective Chief Inspector Russell Oxford was also with Simon Bouda when they returned to Walgett with Brenda Boyd.

“The suggestion is that at ten thirty, eleven o’clock at night she’s walked out the front door and she’s walked through this very gate into darkness and disappeared” says Russell.

While she was only six, Brenda remembers her mother’s tears after arguments with her father saying “I’d be upset too, sometimes I would just hug her and sit with her and she’d tell me that it was alright and everything’s okay.”

John Bowie told police that he searched for his wife including visiting friends in his search for her.

It was one of those friends that found a note under a sugar bowl on a table in the Bowie’s dining room. It read:

“Dear John, I’m leaving you with the kids for good. I’ve thought about it for a long time now and tonight finally did it. I’ve packed a few things and you can have the rest. I don’t want anything to remind me of you or the kids. Don’t try to find me, because I will never come back to you. Bye, Roxlyn.”

Noelene Knight was one of Roxlyn’s closest friends who lived in Sydney. After she vanished, John rang Noelene to break the news.

“I said oh, did she take the children? And he said no. Straight away I knew that didn’t happen because she wouldn’t have done that,” Noelene says.

John Bowie asked for Noelene’s husband Brian to collect the children and drive them to Sydney to stay with Roxlyn’s parents.

When asked if Roxlyn had ever spoken to her about leaving John, Noelene answered, “no, not to me, because I was under the impression the whole time that she really loved John.”

But one thing she can’t forget, is the last time she saw the woman she knew affectionately as Roxy.

“I can still remember now and she was upset and she told me it had been her birthday and John wasn’t around and I said, well where was he? And he was in Sydney with another woman and I tried to console her, she was really upset.”

When asked if she thought Roxlyn could have walked out of the house and left her children alone, Noelene was adamant in her answer, “no, no, she idolised those children and she was a caring mum, no way, no way.”

Just three days after Roxlyn vanished, her parents in Sydney received a letter that was sent from a post box in Coonamble, about a hundred kilometres south of Walgett.

“Dear Mum and Dad, just a short note to say that I have left John and the kids for good. I’m making my way to South Australia or Western Australia to start a new life. Please don’t be hard on John because it wasn’t his fault that I left. I will write again when I settle down. Love, Roxlyn.”

After her disappearance, Roxlyn’s parents Bob and Cicely Padley travelled to Walgett with their niece Margot Rule, looking for answers. They have since passed away without knowing what happened to their only child.

Margot Rule is now ninety years old. She always suspected something sinister and lodged the official missing person’s report almost four weeks after Roxlyn vanished.

“I found it impossible to think that she had left and never come back to the children or to her mother or father,” Margot says.

Michelle Mortel was just fourteen at the time of Roxlyn’s disappearance, she used to babysit the Bowie children.

“She was a nice lady, she loved her children, all she ever spoke about was her children, they were her world,” she remembers.

“She was all excited about Warren’s second birthday coming up and what she was planning on doing.”

Colleen Avis was Roxlyn’s close friend and neighbour in Walgett, when she fell pregnant she described Roxlyn as a big sister.

“She was just the perfect mum and her relationship was one of just overwhelming love for those kids,” Colleen recalls.

To this day she regrets that she didn’t reach out to her friend even though she remembers seeing Roxlyn with suspicious bruising on two separate occasions.

“I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and if I’d have had, the ticker you know to say are you okay? You know, anything I can do to help? Do you want me to call somebody?”

It is the handwritten notes that continue to baffle investigators. Both were written on the same notepad, on consecutive pages. Three handwriting experts have concluded that they were written by Roxlyn.

But questions remain about a mysterious alteration in the letter to her parents where the word “her” was changed to “his”.

Russell says it “could simple just be a mistake that’s made and it’s just an alteration in the letter, but it stands out, the proverbial in that letter. These notes are the crux of this whole investigation.”

Brenda believes she didn’t write them.

“I know that they are experts and they have expertise in this area but I just don’t think she wrote them, in my heart, I know she didn’t write them.”

In 2014, a Coroner’s inquest held in Dubbo heard a mountain of evidence, including that John Bowie was a self-confessed womaniser while stationed at Walgett and while married to Roxlyn.

Russell Oxford gave the inquest three theories about the handwritten notes.

The first was that Roxlyn wrote the notes with the intention to leave and they were later used by someone else to explain her disappearance.

Secondly, that she was forced to write the letters under duress or thirdly, Roxlyn Bowie wrote the letter and left of her own volition.

Deepening the mystery, the inquest was told there was none of Roxlyn’s DNA on the stamp or envelope on the letter sent to her parents.

Coroner Mary Jerrum said that while John Bowie had been open about his drinking and his affairs, they did not make him automatically a guilty person.

But she also described his evidence as very non-credible and put “very little weight on it.”

Her formal finding was that Roxlyn Bowie died on or about the night she disappeared but she was unable to determine the place, manner or cause of death.

She referred the case to the Unsolved Homicide Unit, who formed a strike force code-named Maluka to re-examine every detail.

Russell explains, “obviously something’s happened here, thirty years ago, so it’s important for us to come back, start again to see we haven’t missed anything. Is there any opportunities where we can do some more forensics or we can do some digging around the area? Is there something that at the time we might have overlooked? Or we didn’t have the technology back then that we do now.”

Strike force Maluka investigators have revealed that advances in DNA technology may have turned up new clues. While detectives are keeping the details secret, Russell admits it has given them a lead.

“In actual fact, we have developed a profile on the letter which is significant and it’s given us a very strong line of inquiry,” he says.

For Brenda though, all she wants is answers, “I believe that she died that night and she didn’t leave of her own accord, and I think it’s about time I know the truth.”

The Roxlyn Bowie mystery: Part II

By Ashleigh Sculley

Brenda Boyd is the only daughter of missing mother-of-two, Roxlyn Bowie.

Having had to grow up without a mum, she’s more determined than ever to find answers.

“I think there’s things that my dad might know that he hasn’t told me. I deserve the truth, I deserve answers, my children deserve answers,” she says.

Her father is 68-year-old John Bowie, a man she believes could shed some light on what happened to her mother.

A Current Affair’s investigative reporter Simon Bouda caught up with John Bowie to ask him what he knows about his former wife’s disappearance.

“Did you kill Roxlyn?” Simon asked him.

“No I did not, I did not kill her. I’ve got no idea where she’s at or what has happened to her. I swear on the bible, I did not have anything to do with the disappearance of Roxlyn,” John responded.

“So what happened to Roxlyn, mate, what happened to her?” Simon asks.

“Well according to the letters she left me, she packed her bags and left. It was out of character and she left me a dear John note,” he says.

This is the note John is referring to:

“Dear John, I’m leaving you with the kids for good. I’ve thought about it for a long time now and tonight finally did it. I’ve packed a few things and you can have the rest. I don’t want anything to remind me of you or the kids. Don’t try to find me, because I will never come back to you. Bye, Roxlyn.”

Six days after his wife’s disappearance, John Bowie applied for a transfer to Sydney.

He was sent to Bankstown, near where an ex-lover of his lived. After she spurned him, he met and later married another woman.

It was during that relationship that John Bowie took a quantity of jewellery to a Sydney pawn shop in exchange for cash.

Included in the sale was a pendant, two wedding rings and a diamond ring. A receipt from the store bears John Bowie’s signature.

Coroner Mary Jerrum and strike force detectives are convinced that Roxlyn Bowie is dead.

“There is a strike force looking at this case again John, they’ve got new leads which they say could give them a breakthrough, does that worry you?” Simon asks John.

“No, because I have got nothing to hide, I haven’t done anything,” he responds.

“There was an inquest and the coroner said that your evidence was very non-credible and she put very little weight on it, did you lie to that inquest John?” Simon asks

“No I did not. The only thing I might have lied about was when the guy asked me how many drinks did I have on that particular night, that’s thirty odd years ago, I can’t remember how many,” John says.

The inquest was also told that documents bearing Roxlyn’s signature concerning the sale of a block of land had been discovered.

John Bowie admitted to forging Roxlyn’s signature so that his divorce to her could be completed. He claimed he had to do it so that he could sell the land.

All the while Brenda and Warren had to grow up without a mother.

“We moved around a lot after she disappeared, I felt I had to grow up fast and always look out for my brother,” Brenda recalls.

Now, Brenda is married and her children often ask about their missing grandmother.

Tearfully she explains that “they don’t understand why she’s not here and I just tell them that she would have loved having grandchildren.”

They were tumultuous years for the children. Brenda attended thirteen different schools, her brother sixteen.

In 1991, Detective Russell Oxford conducted a record interview with John Bowie about Roxlyn’s disappearance.

There were a hundred and seventy seven questions and answers, with Bowie denying any involvement in the suspected death of his former wife.

These are the questions police asked John and these are his responses.

“Do you seriously believe that Roxlyn would leave your home during the night, leaving the children alone?” police asked.

“Deep down I didn’t think she would leave, but apparently according to the note she left and I haven’t seen her since,” Mr Bowie responded.

“How can you explain that a person whom you have described as being a devoted mother, would leave her children in the middle of the night?”

“I don’t know if she left in the middle of the night because I came home at approximately eleven o’clock and she wasn’t inside of the house then,” John answered.

The questioning moved to Bowie’s involvement in a piggery, situated next door to Walgett’s kangaroo abattoir.

Police asked, “did you ever dispose of any carcasses at the kangaroo works?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“Are you aware that animal carcasses, mainly kangaroos, were disposed of in the pits at the kangaroo works?,” police questioned.

“I knew the pits were there. I used to get a few carcasses out of it. I used to get the carcasses out for the pigs,” he responded.

After eight hours of questioning, no charges were laid. Today, strike force detectives believe answers to Roxlyn Bowie’s disappearance can still be found in the outback town of Walgett.

The kangaroo abattoir is just a few kilometres out of town and in 1982, animal carcasses littered the entire area.

Russell Oxford explains: “That would be an area that is well known to everybody. If you were to try and dispose of a body, that would be a readymade place that everybody knows about.”

And the pit would have been in full swing in 1982 as it was the preferred way of disposing carcasses.

Clearly, so many unanswered questions still hang over this case. The truth is, we simply do not know who killed Roxlyn.

Today John Bowie, the former ambulance officer is a church going, unemployed pensioner.

His daughter Brenda just wants answers.

“It’s just always been there, it’s always been part of my life, I can’t imagine it not being there, but it would be good to have some kind of closure.”

Roxlyn Bowie tip-off leads NSW investigators to comb Walgett dam


Ground-penetrating radar technology will be used to search concrete slabs in northern NSW after detectives received a tip-off about the suspected murder of Roxlyn Bowie, who went missing 36 years ago.

Key points:

  • A $1 million reward for information on Ms Bowie's suspected murder was offered this month
  • She has not been seen since 1982 and her body has never been found
  • Police are now scouring an industrial site after receiving a tip-off


The 31-year-old mother-of-two vanished from her family home in Walgett in June 1982.


A coronial inquest in 2014 found she had died but the cause of death was not determined and her body has never been found.

Dozens of police have descended on the town to search two locations after receiving a tip-off about Ms Bowie's disappearance.

A massive dam on private property is being excavated and concrete slabs are being searched using ground-penetrating radar equipment.

Detective Superintendent Daniel Doherty said the industrial site was quite close to both Ms Bowie's family home and where she was last seen.

"I know it was being built around that time and that the concrete slabs were, [from] my understanding, being laid around that time," he said.

"It's something that we have to further examine."

Police said the new information was provided to them when they re-opened their investigation into the case.

They said the search could take weeks.

A $1 million reward for information on the suspected murder was offered earlier this month.

At the time, Ms Bowie's daughter Brenda Boyd said she hoped it would encourage those with information to come forward.

"It's not fair that we've gone most of our lives without knowing why she was taken from us," she said.

"I urge people to put themselves in my position and realise just how important it is that we find the truth."

Detective Superintendent Doherty said Ms Boyd had been "very stoic", but was no doubt experiencing mixed emotions.

"She's looking forward to justice as much as we are," he said.

"While she wants justice and wants to find some evidence … if we did find any remains of Roxlyn it makes the grief very raw, but also will help maybe lessen that burden of grief."

Ms Bowie's son Warren has died and Ms Boyd said it was a tragedy he would never know what happened to his mother.

Detective Superintendent Doherty also praised the Walgett community and said its members had been "incredible in their support and assistance".

Police launch forensic search and excavation over 1982 disappearance of Roxlyn Bowie

Police say they are "hopeful" of finding the body of Roxlyn Bowie, 36 years after her disappearance and suspected murder, after new information led them to investigate two sites in northern NSW.

The search comes three weeks after a $1 million reward was announced for information relating to the suspected murder of the mother-of-two.

Robbery and serious crime squad commander, Superintendent Daniel Doherty said officers began forensically searching and digging up a dam in Walgett on Monday, and on Tuesday they began their examination of a nearby industrial site.

Both sites are not far from where Roxlyn was last seen, leaving her family's home about 6pm on Saturday June 5, 1982.


The superintendent said investigators were "hopeful" the sites held the key to what happened to Ms Bowie, who was 31 when she disappeared.

“Ultimately, what we’d like to find is evidence that may lead us to the location of Roxlyn’s body," he said.

The search is expected to take at least three weeks, and Superintendent Doherty said police "will not give up on this investigation".

"It’s been 36 years since Roxlyn disappeared, and that’s a long time for [Ms Bowie's daughter] Brenda and her family to not know the truth of what happened," he said.


"So whilst we’ll never take away the burden of grief, we can lessen the burden of grief."

Investigators from Strike Force Maluka have targeted the dam and industrial site after receiving information from the public.

Superintendent Doherty said the concrete slab at the industrial site was laid around the time of Ms Bowie's disappearance, and they would be using specialist technology to examine the slab.

"I can’t stress enough how crucial information is that we do receive from members of the public," he said.


The renewed investigation follows a September 2014 coronial inquest into the disappearance of the "devoted mother" which found the 31-year-old had died on or around the date of her disappearance – but while it was "highly likely" she had met with foul play, the cause of death was unable to be determined.

Earlier this month, Superintendent Doherty said Ms Bowie was described as "a quiet and shy woman, and a beloved daughter and mother".

"From all accounts, Mrs Bowie was utterly devoted to her two young children, which makes her disappearance very puzzling to those who knew her well."

During the inquest, counsel assisting the coroner Sergeant Paul Bush said Mrs Bowie had planned a party for her son's second birthday before she disappeared.


Her daughter Brenda, who was six at the time her mother disappeared, told the inquest her mother was "most affectionate" and recalled baking cakes with her.

Roxlyn's husband John Bowie also spoke at the inquest, and was open about his own behaviour including drinking and extramarital affairs. He also admitted to forging his wife's signature on a land transfer document in 1984.

Coroner Mary Jerram said she "put very little weight" on some of his evidence, but letters to her husband and parents announcing her intention to leave remained "a stumbling block".

The Walgett home of missing woman Roxlyn Bowie will be dug up today

Police will today begin a forensic excavation at the home of Walgett woman Roxlyn Bowie, who has been missing since 1982.

Aged 31 at the time, Mrs Bowie was reported missing in June of that year.

A coronial inquest in September 2014 found she was dead but the cause of death was undetermined. Her body has not been located.

Yesterday, police and specialist forensic experts conducted forensic examinations on a home in Walgett.

Several items were seized to undergo further testing.

As part of their inquiries, investigators identified a parcel of land which is today due to be excavated and forensically examined.

John Bowie jailed for 24 years for murder of wife Roxlyn in 1982

Sarah McPhee SMH

Self-confessed womaniser John Bowie has been jailed for a maximum of 24 years for the murder of his wife Roxlyn Bowie, who vanished from the outback town of Walgett in north-west NSW more than 40 years ago.

Bowie, 72, was found guilty by a NSW Supreme Court jury last year of murdering Roxlyn, then 31, on or about June 5, 1982. Her body has never been found despite extensive searches.

Bowie entered the court in Sydney on Friday and occasionally placed his hand on his chin or leant back in his chair with his arms crossed as he sat in the dock for his sentence.

Justice Dina Yehia jailed him for 24 years, with a non-parole period of 18 years. “The reality is that he may die in custody,” she said.


The judge was satisfied that Bowie coerced or directed Roxlyn to write two letters before she disappeared – a “Dear John” note to her husband and another to her parents – “as part of the ruse that she had simply left the family home in search of a better life”.

She said Roxlyn was a devoted and loving mother “unlikely to have abandoned her children because she’d simply had enough of the relationship with her husband”.

The ‘Dear John’ letter tendered at John Bowie’s trial

Dear John, 

I’m leaving you with the kids for good.

I’ve thought about it for a long time now and tonight finally did it.

I’ve packed a few things and you can have the rest. I don’t want anything to remind me of you or the kids.

Don’t try to find me, because I will never come back to you.



The judge said Bowie was involved in several extramarital affairs after moving to Walgett with his family to work as an ambulance officer in March 1978.

In the weeks before Roxlyn’s death, Bowie began an affair with another woman, Gail Clarke, who had been holidaying on the Barwon River. He spent his wife’s 31st birthday in May 1982 with Clarke in Sydney.


Clarke, who is deceased, told police in 1988 that she had ultimately rejected Bowie after he arrived at her doorstep in late June 1982, saying “his wife had left him”.

“I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the offender was motivated to kill his wife in order to have a serious and unfettered relationship with Ms Clarke,” Yehia said.




“The fact that Ms Clarke did not want a relationship with the offender does not detract from his feelings for her.”

The judge said, with no remains discovered, no valid conclusions could be reached about the nature of the act that caused Roxlyn’s death, but she was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Bowie acted with an intention to kill, and there was a degree of planning and premeditation.


She said Bowie had not accepted responsibility for his actions. “The offender is entirely without remorse,” the judge said.

Yehia was not persuaded that evidence at trial established Bowie disposed of his wife’s body by feeding her to pigs, adding that there was “no forensic evidence to support that theory”.

However, she was satisfied that he had disposed of her body in a way that has eluded detection to protect himself from prosecution and to prevent the body being available for forensic examination.

In a victim impact statement read to her father in court earlier this month, Brenda Boyd said she and her brother Warren, who has since died, “never stopped looking for answers”.

“We’d been back to Walgett a few times looking for our mother, even taking shovels to dig areas that were suggested to us over the years,” Boyd said.


She pleaded with her father to “reveal the truth” about her mother’s death and let her have closure.

“Tell me where her body is,” Boyd said.

Boyd sat in the front row of the public gallery on Friday, flanked by family including Bowie’s sister Christine Maddox, and detectives Russell Oxford and Brett Mason.

The judge said Boyd “not only lost her mother when she was a child but also has lived a life wondering about what happened to her, the circumstances of her death and the whereabouts of her body”.


Bowie has been in custody since he was extradited from Queensland in 2019. He will first be eligible for parole in October 2037.