‘I’m shaking’: Dawson’s family rocked by dig
IT HAS been a painful 36-year wait for answers for Lyn Dawson's family.
The Sydney mother-of-two vanished without a trace in January 1982 and they have been left in the dark ever since.
They were told she ran off to join a "religious cult", but this week they may find out whether this is true or not as police begin a monumental dig at the missing mum's home.
Her former husband, Chris Dawson, has long been a suspect in the disappearance of his ex-wife, who was last seen alive more than 40 years ago, but he had consistently denied involvement.
The man who started the one-man crusade for answers, Hedley Thomas, a senior journalist at The Australianand the creator of The Teacher's Pet podcast which has racked up more than 18.2 million listeners, caughtup with Ms Dawson' brother Greg Simms - who says he can't stop thinking about the dig.
"And what's more important to you? To find her remains or to catch a killer?" Mr Thomas asked him.
"Can I be greedy and have both?" Mr Simms replied. "I'll have both because I think he's had enough freedom. And he needs to actually be punished for what he's done. And if we can find Lyn in the process, yeah. I just keep thinking about the backyard."
It has been rollercoaster ride for the family who say they just want to put the case to bed and find justice for Ms Dawson.
The missing mum's sister-in-law Merilyn Sims told 2GB she was shaking as she heard the new of the fresh search.
"I think it's anticipation, it's the unknown and this is what we've dealt with. It's tough, it's really tough," she said.
"I'd love to think the family finally gets the opportunity to put her to rest the way she needs to be put to rest.
"We know that if they don't find her there… the police are not giving up now, they're going to continue this fight."
Investigators have started a hand dig in Ms Dawson's old Bayview home where she was living with her husband Chris Dawson - who has long been a suspect in the case.
The former Newtown Jets rugby league player denies any involvement in his wife's disappearance.
"We will go until we hit rock," Homicide Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Scott Cook said on Wednesday.
Ms Dawson's niece, Renee Simms, said it has been "incredibly intense" since the fresh searched began.
"We're just taking it day-by-day," she told the Nine Network on Thursday. "We're not going to get too hopeful because we've been in a similar position before and nothing's come of it but it is there under the surface."
Ms Simms said the family has generally accepted that Ms Dawson is dead, so finding her remains would be a "good thing".
"Because we could finally put her to rest," she said.
It's expected police will be at the home for five days.
WHAT HAPPENED TO LYNETTE DAWSON?
Lyn and Chris Dawson were childhood sweethearts.
On the surface, they had it all - a wholesome relationship, respectable jobs and a home in an idyllic suburb on Sydney's northern beaches.
Lyn worked a nurse, and was seen as a kind and gentle soul. Chris was a popular high school PE teacher and talented sportsman.
In 1980, Chris began a relationship with his 16-year-old Cromer High School student Joanne Curtis. Their relationship became sexual, and Chris employed the girl as a babysitter for his two daughters.
He tried convincing his wife to let the girl move into their home for the remainder of her schooling, saying she came from a broken home and had a violent stepfather. The couple ended up in marriage counselling.
On January 9, 1982, Lyn was due to meet her mother at Northbridge Baths, where Chris worked.
But Lyn never arrived. Chris later claimed he dropped her off at a bus stop in Mona Vale, and that she called him later in the day saying she needed time to herself.
No more than two days later, Joanne had moved into Chris' home - and marital bed. She would even wear Lyn's jewellery and her clothes.
Chris didn't report his wife as missing until six weeks later, and told everyone she had run off to join a religious cult.
A body was never found - but they did discover Lyn's pink cardigan during a police dig. The garment had multiple cut marks consistent with stabbing.
Two coroners later found that Lyn was murdered by a "known person", but no charges were ever laid.