A GROUP of students and their lecturers at Murdoch University will work with the Missing Person's Advocacy Network in the hope of finding answers about the cold case of Stawell man Russell Martin.
Mr Martin has been missing from his Stawell home, since January 1977, on or about January 18.
Martin's disappearance has been featured in episode 158 on the podcast from Casefile: True Crime series. From there, a billboard was set up on the Main Street of Stawell asking residents for information.
In April, a retired former police investigator, Valentine Smith, announced his interest in the case.
Led by Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science Brendan Chapman and Senior Lecturer in Criminology David Keatley, the Cold Case Review at Murdoch initiative will see the students review large volumes of Open Source Intelligence relating to the Russell Martin case and provide recommendations to law enforcement or families on new avenues for enquiry.
"David, myself and the group of students that we work with are all incredibly excited to be working with Loren and the team at MPAN," Mr Chapman said.
"The Russel Martin case is a real demonstration of the type of cases that we feel can be aided by our efforts.
"It's a missing person case that has the potential for criminality and that falls directly into our wheelhouse as forensic scientists and criminologists.
"Beyond the facts, the files and the evidence, there's a real human interest story with Russel's sister, Beverley's ongoing desire to be heard and have justice brought to this case too. We're hoping that we can cast some light on the case and maybe uncover some new avenues for enquiry that police can use."
Beverly Roberts has been the driver behind the resurgence of interest in the case.
For more than 40 years, she has always wondered what happened to her brother.
"We've already allocated teams to tasks such as statement analysis, victimology, timelining events, geographic profiling and evidence management and expect to be able to present some preliminary observations to MPAN and Beverley in the coming months," Mr Chapman said
"A think tank of Murdoch University's brightest and most talented Forensic Science and Criminology students have been brought together to investigate, research and analyse data that may provide opportunities to progress unsolved homicide and missing persons cases."
With a combined 17 years of experience in criminal investigations, Mr Chapman and Dr Keatley specialise in behavioural and statement analysis, suspect prioritisation, victimology and forensic science and crime scene investigation.
The initiative, announced during Missing Persons Week, was developed as a result of the number of unsolved investigations and missing person cases stagnating due to a lack of resources available to conduct detailed reviews of case information.
Mr Chapman said the different backgrounds he and Dr Keatley came from allowed complimentary views which keeps them both challenged.
"Ultimately it makes for a very robust system," he said.
"Our students are our greatest asset, largely because of all of the great ideas they can bring to solving a problem. The success of our Forensic Science and Criminology courses also means we have a constant supply of highly intelligent, capable individuals.
"They're getting real case exposure and to work with international experts. It's a win, win."
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