Sunday, February 2, 1992

Prudence Bird

Personal Details
Last seen: 2.10pm on February 2, 1992
Employment: Student
Year of birth: 1979
Hair: Fair
Complexion: Fair
Gender: Female
Distinguishing Feature:
Circumstances: Schoolgirl Prudence Bird, known as Prue, disappeared from her home in Justin Avenue, Glenroy.

The mother of a 13-year-old girl who vanished in 1992, leaving a hot meal on the table, hopes an increased reward may finally solve the mystery of her disappearance and suspected murder.

Homicide squad detectives yesterday announced that the reward for information leading to a conviction had jumped from $100,000 to $500,000.

Schoolgirl Prudence Bird, known as Prue, disappeared from her home in Justin Avenue, Glenroy, about 2.10pm on February 2, 1992.

Her mother, Jenny, said the past 16 years had been "the cruellest". "It's like carrying a bag of bricks around with you every day of your life," she said.

Ms Bird last spoke to Prue the night before her disappearance. After looking in on her sleeping daughter the next morning, she left for the day.

A female friend living at the house last saw Prue preparing lunch and taking a call from a teenage boy.

When the woman later returned from the garage, the front door was open, the television was on and a hot meal sat uneaten. Prue has not been seen since.

Police have investigated numerous avenues of inquiry in the past 16 years — including her grandmother's de facto husband Paul Kurt Hetzel. In 1999, The Age reported that Hetzel, a career criminal, had lived under witness protection after testifying against three associates convicted over the Russell Street bombing and armed robberies.

In 1991, Prue, apparently resenting her mother's relationship with the woman who lived at their house, went to stay with her grandmother and Hetzel near Kalgoorlie.

She later returned, telling her mother: "I don't want to go back — he's nuts."

Prue also knew a man called Stanley Taylor, an old jailmate of Hetzel's. The Age reported in 1999 that when Prue was seven, Taylor handcuffed her to a naked boy her own age in a shower.

Ms Bird said she was under no illusions her feisty daughter, who was in year 8 at Glenroy High School, was still alive.

"I don't live in a fairyland, I knew the day Prue went missing that whatever it was, (it) was going to be terrible," she said.

Detective Inspector Steve Clarke said police did not have "any information to suggest the disappearance is linked to the Russell Street bombings", and no specific information there was any link to the grandparents.

"I have no clue, I wish I knew," Ms Bird said, adding that she had cut all ties with her extended family. She said she missed Prue, who would now be 30, every day of her life. "I think, would she be married, would she have children? I miss everything about her, I miss her smell, her touch, I miss everything."

Homicide squad detective inspector Steve Clark said: "It is as though she simply disappeared off the face of the earth."

Ms Bird urged the public to provide any information, no matter how insignificant. The Office of Public Prosecutions will consider waiving charges against any person who gives information.

Anyone with information should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or see