Will second inquest uncover the truth about Simone's death?
IN AN explosive new development, a second Coronial Inquest into the 2005 death of Simone Strobel in Lismore, will be held in February next year.
The Department of Communities and Justice confirmed the inquest was set to take place, 14 years after the first one found there was insufficient evidence to lay charges over the death.
Since then, a $1 million reward has been offered and police investigating the suspicious death confirmed a former suspect was now reclassified as a witness.
No one has been charged over the death of the 25-year-old German backpacker, whose body was found under palm fronds at the Lismore Bocce Club, six days after she went missing.
At the conclusion of the first inquest in 2007, Deputy State Coroner Paul Macmahon referred the case back to police.
During the inquest, Mr Macmahon said despite agreeing with evidence police said showed Tobias Suckfuell (now Moran) was the most likely suspect, there was not enough evidence to charge him or his sister, Katrin Suckfuell, who police suspected may have helped him hide Simone's body.
Last month, Richmond Police District commander, Superintendent Scott Tanner announced a $1 million reward for information about Simone Strobel's death.
Supt Tanner confirmed Ms Strobel's former boyfriend remained a person of interest.
"As was clear at the 2007 inquest, the then boyfriend is certainly a person of interest and he remains a person of interest in this investigation, police are keeping an open mind on all circumstances around this homicide," Superintendent Tanner said.
"The inquest did identify a number of persons of interest, however, our investigation will take us where it takes us."
Last week however, Detective Acting Inspector Grant Erickson, of the Richmond Police District, said one of those suspects was now considered a witness.
"German authorities advised detectives last week that a former nominated suspect has now had their classification changed to a witness", Insp Erickson said.
"This development is of interest to the Strike Force detectives and is something we will be monitoring."
Insp Erickson said the NSW police and German police were in constant contact over possible new information regarding the case.
Additionally, the Richmond Police District has received new information in relation to the Simone Strobel case after announcing the $1 million reward for information in October.
Insp Erickson also revealed DNA technology would be a part of the investigation, due to the advances made in the technology since Simone's death in 2005.
"As part of the ongoing inquiries, we are also looking at the advancements in DNA technology and we're constantly reviewing the examination processes of forensic material obtained as a result of this investigation," he said.
During the 2007 inquest, the Coroner noted there was a critical piece of evidence found by police at the Bocce Club, believed to be a human hair.
At the conclusion of the inquest, Mr Macmahon said: "Unfortunately at this stage current technology is not sufficiently advanced" to identify who the hair came from.
Mr Macmahon concluded that Simone died on or about February 12, 2005, that she likely died from suffocation or smothering asphyxia, and that her death was 'caused by the action of a person or persons unknown'.
Details about the second Coronial Inquiry - dates, witnesses to appear, and the scope of the hearing - had not yet been released.
The reward for information remains open to any person or resident including both Australian and German residents.
If you have any information about the death of Simone Strobel, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.