Ahead of the 18th anniversary of Hayley Dodd’s disappearance, her mother Margaret has spoken about her long fight to bring her daughter home.
Mandurah teenager Hayley Dodd disappeared without a trace on July 29, 1999, near the Wheatbelt town of Badgingarra.
The teenager was last seen walking on her own on North West Road towards a friend’s farm at 11.35am.
She never arrived at the farm.
Eighteen long years later, Hayley’s body has never been found, and the Dodd family is still waiting for answers.
“Not knowing affects you really, really badly,” Mrs Dodd jsaid.
“It has affected my husband, it has affected me, it has affected my children and even my grandchildren, many of them hadn’t even met [Hayley].
“I just want to know are you ever going to tell us?”
The Dodd family might now be one step closer to finding answers about Hayley’s disappearance, with murder accused Francis John Wark due to go on trial at a Perth court in October.
Mr Wark owned a property in Badgingarra at the time, but sold it shortly after Hayley’s disappearance.
Following a massive search in and around the property in 2013, Mr Wark was extradited to Western Australia from Queensland in 2015, where he was completing a 12-year sentence for the abduction and rape of a hitchhiker in 2007.
He was charged with Hayley’s murder in December 2015 but has pleaded not guilty.
‘Is this ever going to end?’
This year was a significant one for the Dodd family, with Mr Wark due to go to trial in October and the state government passing the no body no parole legislation Mrs Dodd had been fighting for years for in May.
Mrs Dodd has spoken out in criticism several times about the way Hayley’s case was handled by authorities.
According to the local mother, authorities failed to classify the case as a homicide during the crucial first 24 hours, listing Hayley’s case as a runaway, failing then to dispatch enough resources towards the search.
“Evidence in Hayley’s case was there all the time, they just didn’t look,” she said.
“They impounded his car, they took it down to Moora on August 5 , they did forensic testings on August 6, they packed it up, sent it to Perth and it sat on a shelf without even being examined for 14 years.
”It became a cold case in a matter of months, where nothing as being done.
“It makes you feel as though nobody cared, that she wasn’t worth anything, that she was a nobody and that life is cheap.”
Mrs Dodd said they also had to speak to the media on several occasions to put pressure on the investigation and write to government representatives to finally get a reward for information, despite other cases getting a reward automatically.
“I had to write to the minister for police, the attorney general and the commissioner for police,” she said.
“I think in all the cases their reward should be the same for murder, there shouldn’t be any difference and you certainly shouldn’t have to fight for it.”
Despite Mr Wark being due to stand trial in just a few months time, the Dodd’s fight to bring Hayley home is far from over.
Mrs Dodd said even if Mr Wark was found guilty, it could still be a matter of years before they found Hayley’s body.
“When I was told about [the trial] I thought ‘great I can see an end’, but I didn’t realise it was going to take this long,” she said.
‘”Now I think ‘oh my, is this ever going to end?’.”
Meanwhile, she is facing her worst fear; that Hayley’s body was taken to a nearby tip.
“After all these years, there’d be nothing left, nothing to bring home,” she said.
However, that won’t stop her from keeping on fighting.
“It’s just a need, you know she’s dead, you know it’s only bones, but it’s still a need that you have to bring her home,” she said.
“It’s knowing that she is not out there in the middle of nowhere.
“I just want to know, are you going to tell us or are you not going to tell us?
“If he is not going to tell you, you think ‘well, we’re never going to find out and that’s it’, but if there’s a chance he might tell you, you are forever living in hope.”
On August 3, Peel’s Zonta Club will be holding their annual special service for missing persons at the Mandurah memorial on Mandurah Terrace, which honours the families of missing persons.
The association created the memorial in Administration Park in 2006, after realising there were no places in Mandurah that remembered missing people.
Hayley’s was the first plaque to be placed at the memorial in July 28, 2006.
A special service will start at 10am and will be followed by morning tea at Tuckey Room.
For more information call 0417998706.