Kellie Ann Carmichael’s remains found, 23 years after she went missing from hostel

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The human remains discovered by police in Katoomba, New South Wales, are those of a young woman who disappeared without a trace 23 years ago.

Kellie Ann Carmichael disappeared in April 2001 after checking out of a backpackers hostel in the Blue Mountains. She told hostel staff she was going for a walk and would return to collect her belongings. However, Ms Carmichael was never seen again.

She was 24 years old at the time.

On Sunday evening, The Daily Telegraph announced that police had found her bones.

“During an unrelated police operation on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, officers from the Blue Mountains Police Area Command located human remains in bushland near Katoomba,” New South Wales Police said.

“Following investigation, police went to the same location on Monday, May 27, 2024 and found additional remains.

“The human remains initially found and seized have now been officially identified as those of missing person Kellie Ann Carmichael and her family has been notified.

“The investigation is being conducted by the Unsolved Homicide Team and a summary of the evidence is to be prepared for the coroner.”

The first human remains were reportedly discovered during an independent search in Katoomba when police abseiled down a rock face.

The investigation is now expected to shed belated light on Mrs Carmichael’s death. Her family has long suspected that she was murdered.

Decades of pain

Mrs Carmichael was reported missing by her parents, John and Margaret, in 2001 and became concerned when they did not hear from her for nearly a week.

They called the hostel where she had been staying on May 5, a few days after she checked out on April 29, and found her ID card, wallet, phone, camera, toiletries and cards all still there and unclaimed. The couple then filed a missing persons report.

Amid feverish media speculation, several theories have been put forward about Ms Carmichael’s disappearance, including that she may have fallen victim to a serial killer.

While police initially believed the young woman, who suffered from schizophrenia, may have taken her own life, her family insisted she had been murdered.

Eventually, detectives from the homicide squad took over the investigation and searched the search areas in the Blue Mountains. But their efforts were in vain.

An inquest in 2009 conducted by Deputy Coroner Carl Milovanovich concluded that Ms Carmichael had died, but it could not determine when, where or how.

The state government later followed the recommendations of the investigation, offered a $200,000 reward for information on the unsolved case and formed a special task force.

“Please give her family the closure they deserve. Please share information,” then Police Minister Michael Daley said to the public.

“And understand that if you are responsible for the harm done to Kellie Ann, the police will never close this file.

“They will hunt you until you die.”

“I feel like our daughter and our grandchildren have been stolen from us,” Margaret told the media at the time.

“We never had the chance to have our daughter.

“We will be grateful for everything because our lives will never be the same again.”

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