Podcast incredibly leads to arrest in decades-old cold case of a woman who disappeared
A popular Australian true crime podcast has led to an arrest in the case of a 37-year-old missing person's case. The podcast Teacher's Pet, which is hosted by journalist Hedley Thomas, was at one point the number one downloaded podcast in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Canada, boasting approximately 11.6 million downloads.
The podcast investigated the 1982 disappearance of Lynette Dawson, wife of former PE teacher Chris Dawson. Although Chris Dawson has alleged for decades that Lynette vanished unexpectedly, leaving him and their children alone, the podcast uncovered new evidence which was apparently (either through accidental or intentional negligence) ignored by police investigators.
Thomas has presented the case that Dawson killed his wife. Now, as a result of the podcast's findings, police in Queensland have arrested Dawson, who will be extradited to New South Wales to be charged. Despite this, Dawson and his family have still publically stated that Dawson is the victim of a miscarriage of justice and a vicious smear campaign.
They stated to the press that: "There is clear and uncontested evidence that Lyn Dawson was alive long after she left Chris and their daughters. We have no doubt whatsoever that Chris will be found not guilty, as he is innocent."
Commenting on Dawson's arrest in Biggera Waters, New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller stated: "I have said from the start, what is important to me was just as important for Lynette Dawson and her family ... Today is an important step forward in that ... We're certainly hoping an interview with this 70-year-old man who's currently in custody in Queensland will assist us with the outcome of where the body may be."
Fuller added that, while the police have commenced several digs at locations near to Dawson's old home, finding a body is not a priority for NSW murder detectives, stating: "We have solved homicides before without identifying the body."
Lynette's brother Greg Simms told Australian reporters that he was emotional upon hearing the news of Dawson's arrest, and hopeful that it will lead to justice for his sister. He stated: "I was just ecstatic that we've got a result. We were always hopeful but if you look back over the years you could say we’ve been kicked in the guts a few times, but we’ve got there," Mr Simms said.
He added: "We were on the side verandah when [we found out Dawson was arrested] and we just grabbed each other and had a cry. We've always been determined to find the truth and that’s the reason why we’ve fought to keep Lyn's name alive and out there with all the different media".
Although Chris Dawson remains innocent until proven guilty, his arrest raises many questions about the investigation. Only time will tell if this move will be able to provide details of Lynette's whereabouts, or lead to a prosecution.