DETECTIVES are urging a frightened Southern community to show courage and give information concerning a teenager who disappeared and is suspected of being murdered nearly 21 years ago.
This information could lead to the hard evidence police need to corroborate ``a fairly good idea of the circumstances in relation to Eve Askew's death''.
Detective Inspector Colin Riley said he could sense fear in the towns of Bushy Park and Karanja as police closed in on solving the 1991 cold case, which saw the 14-year-old disappear from nearby Fitzgerald.
``What we've found is there seems to be a fear for people to come forward and actually speak up,'' Detective Inspector Riley said.
``I just ask members of this local community to show a bit of courage and actually ring the mobile phone number and speak directly to investigators.''
He said the 0418 589 544 hotline had provided excellent information so far to investigators.
Acting on this, police seized two homes and a property full of mechanical equipment in Bushy Park and Karanja on Wednesday.
A man in his late 50s, who owns two of the properties and previously the other, was arrested and remains in custody but has not been charged.
Police believe the man and Eve knew each other shortly before she disappeared.
Detective Inspector Riley would not say whether he would be charged but said the man had been investigated and his properties searched a decade ago in relation to Eve's disappearance.
Police plan to hold him for as long as they can under the relevant legislation.
Yesterday investigators chased down a fresh lead on the disappearance in the state's North but Detective Inspector Riley would not give further details.
However, police are not ruling out more than one person being involved in Eve's death.
``I certainly encourage people to come forward now because I'm very confident that we are actually starting to find out exactly all those people that haven't come forward through our inquiries specifically in the last six months,'' Detective Inspector Riley said.
For now there would be no further arrests, he said.
The focus will remain on searching the grounds of a Karanja home formerly owned, but never lived in, by the man in custody.
The yellow house adjoins a large work site, which he now owns.
So far police have dug up a septic tank in the yard and discovered items they hope will be evidence.
``What we're doing here today, yesterday and the next couple of days is constructing pretty much an evidence brief to hopefully allow us to prosecute,'' Detective Inspector Riley said.
Excavation of the sites may continue until Saturday.
A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered for information leading to a conviction in relation to Eve's disappearance.