Deborah Anne Smykalla’s body was discovered around 9:45pm on September 6th, 1981. She was just 22 years old and her body was found in the kitchen of her Capalaba home at 64 Howlett Road.
Upon arrival, the police noticed a small fire smoldering and an overturned heater on the carpet. It was believed that the person who had committed the murder had intended to set the home on fire.
She had been seen in her yard around 4pm with a man described as being in his early 20s, with short brown hair, and a slim build on the day of her murder.
At approximately 7:30pm on the same day, two people were witnessed sitting on the front porch. Detectives are interested in speaking with these people or anybody who may have information about their identities.
The investigation has been ongoing for four decades but detectives have been unable to find the person responsible for Deborah’s murder.
On September 14th of 2014, an anonymous online Crime Stoppers submission was received by the police from a member of the public. The submission provided specific information about the person responsible for Deborah’s death.
Detectives are appealing for that person to make contact with police again with the hope that this may assist police with further avenues of inquiry.
They are also appealing to anyone who may have information about a motorbike, maybe a 250cc or 500cc road trail bike that was seen at the address.
Detective Senior Sergent Tara Kentwell of Homicide’s Cold Case Investigation Team is hopeful a reward of $500,000 will encourage people with vital information to come forward.
The reward was announced on Friday 6th May as homicide detectives and family launch a fresh public appeal in an attempt to finally solve the 40-year-old case.
“Police have commenced a full review and know there are people out there who can provide crucial information in regards to Deborah’s activities and movements around the time of her death,” said Detective Senior Sergent Kentwell.
“As part of the review, we are utilising new and enhanced forensic DNA testing on the dog lead that was located around Deborah’s neck. Testing is currently underway in New Zealand’s ESR (Institute of Environmental Science and Research).
The smallest piece of information could lead to a breakthrough in the investigation, and I encourage anyone who had information about who was responsible for Deborah’s murder to come forward.”
Police have placed billboard displays at Capalaba and Carina and targeted Facebook posts in the Bayside area to refresh people’s memories and encourage them to come forward as part of the investigation.
The reward of $500,000 is being offered by the Queensland Government for information which leads to the apprehension and conviction of the responsible party for the murder of Deborah Smykalla.
The Government reward also offers the opportunity for indemnity against prosecution for any accomplice, not being the person who actually committed the murder, who first gives such information.