THE ONLY sister of a man believed to have been murdered in Armidale almost 30 years ago said she still lives in hope that she will find answers.
An emotional Kim Roach fronted the media with New England police on Tuesday morning about the mysterious disappearance of her older brother William Roach, or Bill, in 1993.
It came in the wake of an announcement that the government had put forward a $1 million reward for information about what happened to Mr Roach
"My brother Bill, missing for 27 years, missed for 27 years, still loved immensely," she said.
"The loss, the unanswered questions, the not knowing, the no closure.
Bill Roach was just 25 years old when he was seen walking along a street in Armidale on New Year's Eve, 1993, looking casual in a red flannelette shirt and blue jeans.
Then, he vanished without a trace.
The Express can reveal more than 100 people have been spoken to as part of several new leads in the murder probe.
For the past six months, Strike Force Annan detectives in Armidale have travelled to Hobart, Brisbane, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne, Sydney, Griffith, and the NSW North and South Coasts to interview a list of people who could hold crucial clues.
Ms Roach fought back tears, and told media her mother - who became an advocate "fighting" for her son's case - had died recently.
"Yvonne, our mother, passed away last year, and she did so with out being able to grieve or have closure for her son - no parent deserves that," Ms Roach said.
"Please just come forward any little info for this puzzle, mum had to pass with not knowing and she was a trooper in the fight for hope and answers."
The special squad, dubbed Strike Force Annan, was first launched in 2004 after new information was handed to police.
Detectives had a small breakthrough in 2010, and again in 2016, but the mystery has never been solved.
"I believe my brother was met with foul play all those years ago," Ms Roach said.
"He was a great big brother, very jovial, very handsome, smart ... but he was also a really good friend and he was my mate and that's just been ripped."
A huge million-dollar reward has been announced - upping the previous amount ten-fold - for vital clues on the suspected murder.
"I'd like to say there is a number of persons of interest in this investigation," New England Detective Superintendent Steve Laksa said at Tuesday's announcement in Sydney.
"To be honest, the investigation is very open and very fluid and we're keeping a very open mind.
"The shame that it might bring upon a person who may have held that info for 27 years may be overcome with a greater reward; it's sad that has to be the case but that's just reality."
Superintendent Laksa said he understood Mr Roach to have been a "gentle soul" who fell in with the wrong crowd, and may have become tied up in a drug syndicate operating in Armidale around the time he disappeared.
We live with the hope for closure, the hope to be able to grieve and to lay my brother Bill to rest, please.Kim Roach
Police minister David Elliot had a stern warning for anyone that might be hiding the truth about the fate Mr Roach met that night.
"My appeal is to anybody who has any information relating to this matter please contact police, it could be any moment now detectives knock on your door, it is much better to be part of the solution than part of the conviction," he said.
The Express has exclusively interviewed Mr Roach's late mother and one of the original men questioned over the murder mystery. In 2016, the strike force dug up a property on the outskirts of Armidale, as part of one lead which went dead.
A podcast exploring the young man's disappearance has been created, called William Allan Roach, and police said it "turns up new evidence that takes the case in a fresh direction after three decades". They're hoping someone out there might know more.
Episodes are on Listnr https://bit.ly/37ABLSI.
Superintendent Laksa urged the public to have a listen - both to find out more about Mr Roach's life and also as a "preventative" measure for youth at risk of getting caught up with the wrong crowds.
- Crime Stoppers can be reached on 1800 333 000
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