Search of pine forest for Keren Rowland murder investigation

Police Operation

ACT Policing is searching an area in the Fairbairn pine plantation where Keren Rowland was found dead nearly 50 years ago.

Keren Rowland was found near the Air Disaster Memorial on 13 May 1971, several months after she was reported missing. It was believed Keren had a silver or gold coloured Lynette bracelet in her possession; however, it was never recovered.

Detective Senior Constable Emma-lea Beere said the Unsolved Homicide Team has been reviewing old case files and any evidence collected at the time of the crime.

“The detectives who first arrived on scene were very surprised that Keren was not found earlier, as it was an area that was frequented by many walkers,” said Detective Senior Constable Emma-lea Beere.

“An extensive search of the area was conducted over several days, and officers located items of clothing and her handbag. Keren’s family reported she would have had a silver or gold bracelet and detectives at the time believed her killer may have taken it.

“The pine plantation has changed significantly since Keren’s death. After consulting old maps to identify where exactly she was found, we’re now searching the area with equipment that would not have been available in the 1970s.

“It has been a long-time but detectives don’t close a case until it is solved, and that’s why we’re looking at other avenues of enquiry to try to figure out what may have happened to Keren.”

Keren disappeared on the night of 26 February 1971, the night of the Royal Canberra Show. Keren had travelled to Civic to pick up her sister and go to The Statesman Hotel; however, it was decided that her sister would get a lift with her fiancé and Keren would follow them, alone, in her own car.

Keren was reported missing to ACT Police by family members about midnight that night after she didn’t arrive at the party.

Her vehicle, a white Mini Morris 850 sedan, was later located on Parkes Way, Campbell, with no petrol in the tank.

“Keren was only 20-years-old when she went missing and was five months pregnant,” Detective Senior Constable Beere said.

“A full investigation was conducted at the time of the incident with strategies that were available to detectives, which mostly involved eye-witness accounts.

“Several persons of interest were identified but no charges were laid against any person.

“We’ve been speaking regularly with Keren’s family and as we near the 50 year anniversary we’re looking for answers for them.”

Anyone with information that could assist police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website. Please quote reference 3290689. Information can be provided anonymously.

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