83 Year Old Murder Case Reopend

By: Stewart Campbell Email
By: Stewart Campbell Email
An 83-year-old

Emma Alice Smith, 16. (1926). Back Row, Far Left.

An 83-year-old 'cold case' has been reopened after a dying man allegedly confessed to killing a missing teenage girl.

Emma Alice Smith, 16, has not been seen since she set off on her bicycle from her home in Waldron, East Sussex, England, to a local railway station in 1926.

British Police have now announced their Major Crime Branch will re-investigate the case after receiving new information from a member of the girl's family.

No trace of her was found during the original search but Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Bowles said the new information led officers to believe she might have been murdered near her home and dumped in a nearby pond.

She disappeared as she cycled to Horam railway station - which has since been demolished - but it is believed she never arrived as her bike was not found at the station where she usually left it.

Mr Bowles said the teenager's great-nephew came to police last year and told them that her sister, Lillian, was told by a dying man in 1953 that he was responsible for her murder.

The man allegedly disposed of her body and the bike in a local pond.

This information was kept within the family and not reported to police, so was never investigated at the time.

Mr Bowles said officers have since carried out some investigatory work by researching council records to find information about who lived in the area at the time.

But he added that the purpose of the inquiry was to locate the teenager's body and return her to her family, so she could be buried according to their wishes.

Officers are not looking at any suspects in the investigation.

An SOS message was broadcast in the 1950s as Emma's father, who was distraught at her disappearance, lay dying. But the message drew no response.

A plaque was placed on his grave in Waldron churchyard.

A police spokesman said: "We do not intend to dredge up local ponds. If there are searches, they will be specific and based on evidence given to us. We are looking at two or three locations.

He added: "This investigation, into an incident 83 years ago, has to be balanced against significant competitive demands on Police and the Major Crime Branch.

"The public of Sussex rightly expect us to balance demands of investigations such as these against the more active, current investigations we deal with."

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