The Advertiser February 08, 2010
RHIANNA Barreau should have celebrated her 30th birthday on Sunday. But Rhianna's future was snatched from her when she disappeared from her Morphett Vale home almost 18 years ago.
Rhianna was 12 years old when she vanished from her Morphett Vale home and left behind a mother, father and brother heartbroken by her disappearance. Police believe she was murdered shortly after she disappeared.
Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Kinsman, from the Major Crime Investigation Branch, said Rhianna's missing person case would remain open until someone was convicted of her abduction and murder.
"Police never give up. The lack of a body does not stop people from being charged with murder," Det-Sgt Kinsman said.
He urged who thought they knew something that could help to ring Crime Stoppers.
"Anything, any information no matter how trivial may assist us in any case," he said.
Det-Sgt Kinsman could not reveal whether police had a suspect for Rhianna's abduction and murder.
What can be reported are the facts of her disappearance.
Rhianna's mother Paula last saw her on October 7, 1992, about 8.30am.
Ms Barreau was studying at TAFE and initially she planned to meet Rhianna later that day at Colonnades shopping centre, where Rhianna wanted to buy a Christmas card for her American pen friend.
However, Ms Barreau heard on radio that Wednesday morning that bus drivers planned a snap strike.
Ms Barreau suggested Rhianna, who was on school holidays, walk to a nearby newsagent instead.
Ms Barreau hugged and kissed her daughter goodbye and never saw her again.
When Ms Barreau returned home at 4.10pm, she found the front door locked, the television on and a vinyl record on the living room floor, as though Rhianna had been playing it.
The Christmas card, complete with its wrapper, was on the dining room table.
Witnesses told police they saw Rhianna walking towards a Reynella newsagency about 10.30am.
She was also sighted walking alone at Morphett Vale High School at 12.30pm.
Det-Sgt Kinsman said missing persons cases were always distressing for families.
"I can't speak for the family, they're all getting on with their lives as best as they can, but they would hope, as I do, that one day media publicity will prompt something to occur that will bring the investigation to a successful conclusion," he said.
"When there's a release in the media about a body or remains being located I would surmise that people who have lost loved ones, lost relatives, lost friends would immediately be thinking is that their loved one?"
However he warned parents should not be paranoid about letting their children play - Rhianna's abduction, though tragic, is rare.
"Stranger abductions are a very rare occurrence, and it is borne out in statistics that the victims of personal crimes such as sexual abuse and homicide, know the perpetrators in a high number of cases - in homicide it's more than 80 per cent.
"I think with a healthy family environment children should be encouraged to talk to mum and dad or a trusted adult about any worries."
A $200,000 reward is on offer for information about Rhianna.
Even someone who remained anonymous could collect some money, Det-Sgt Kinsman said.
"Everyone who rings Crime Stoppers is given a caller ID number, whether they want to remain anonymous or not. They can then use that number every time they ring.
"I think anybody that would assist the immediate victims of this, and that's the family and friends of Rhianna, anybody that could assist bringing this matter to closure would be helping them very much and also helping the general public of South Australia."
Anyone with information about Rhianna's disappearance or other crimes should phone BankSA Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au.