Advancement of forensic technology leads to a Gold Coast Man PLEADING GUILTY to 1983 Murder

 A Queensland man, Troy O’Meara, has pleaded guilty to a murder, nearly four decades after Linda Reed’s partially clothed body was found in a creek bed. He was only 17 at the time of the heinous attack. 

Linda and Robert Reed were newly-weds and building their first home together when Linda disappeared. She was on a lunch break during her shift at a retail shop at Pacific Fair Shopping Centre in December 1983 when she failed to return. Her remains were found three days later in a secluded area in Helensvale, a 30 minute drive from where she was abducted. She was facedown, arms bound behind her and had been sexually assaulted. Her cause of death was the result of drowning, smothering, suffocation, or strangulation.

O’Meara pleaded guilty to one count of rape and one count of murder on Monday.

O’Meara, now 54, received a life sentence in 1985 for another murder, that of Vanessa O’Brien. Ms O’Brien’s case was eerily similar to Linda’s. He again abducted the young woman from a shopping centre, took her to a remote location where he raped and murdered her.  

For decades there were appeals for witnesses in the case and a large scale investigation, but Police say the key to reopening the case and charging O’Meara was the advancement in forensic technology.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Reed told the court, “No one can possibly know the pain and anguish I have been through over the last 38 years. After Linda’s murder, as a tribute of love for Linda, I vowed never to have children with anyone else.”

The advancement of forensic technology has allowed for the resolution of thousands of previously cold cases internationally. This case, however, is very close to home for residents of the Gold Coast and it can only be hoped that as science further develops, new life can be brought to other seemingly cold cases both on a domestic and global scale.

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