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Cold case in tropical north has police seeking answers


Queensland Police are hoping to crack a mystery surrounding the “suspicious disappearance” of a woman while hitchhiking in the far north of the state.

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Joanne Butterfield was 37 when she disappeared in June 1998 near the Captain Cook Highway north of Cairns, after telling friends she planned to hitchhike south.

Three days later the embroidered bag she “took everywhere with her” was found between a public lookout and the bank of a cane train track near Innisfail, about two hours south.

An envelope containing Butterfield’s Medicare card, bank cards and personal documents was delivered to her Mossman home just over a week after she was last seen.

Detectives are now confident more information could lead to a breakthrough in the case.

They want to speak with anyone who saw a woman hitchhiking between Port Douglas and the South Johnstone area between Thursday, June 25 and Sunday, June 28, 1998.

Butterfield was last seen wearing a short black dress with shoulder straps, flat black shoes and carrying her floral embroidered bag.

She is described as Caucasian, approximately 160cm tall, with long auburn hair and blue eyes.



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