Police offer $500,000 reward as fresh public appeal launched into 1981 Capalaba murder

MURDER: Deborah Anne Smykalla was found strangled to death on Father's Day, 1981. Photo: Queensland Police Service

MURDER: Deborah Anne Smykalla was found strangled to death on Father's Day, 1981. Photo: Queensland Police Service

POLICE are offering a $500,000 reward as detectives launch a fresh public appeal to help solve the murder of Capalaba woman Deborah Anne Smykalla.

It comes as new forensic DNA testing is carried out on the dog lead that was found around the 22-year-old's neck after being strangled to death on Father's Day, 1981.

Police arrived at the Howlett Road property to find a small fire smouldering in the kitchen and an overturned heater on the carpet in the lounge.

Ms Smykalla's head had been shoved into a gas oven and police believe someone had attempted to set the house on fire.

Detectives want to speak with several people who were seen at the Capalaba property in the hours before the 22-year-old's death.

Among them is a slim man with short brown hair who was with Ms Smykalla in her yard at about 4 pm.

Two people were also witnessed sitting on the home's front porch about 7.30 pm, just hours before Ms Smykalla's body was found.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tara Kentwell of Homicide's Cold Case Investigation Team was hopeful the reward would encourage those with information to come forward.

"Police have commenced a full review and know there are people out there who can provide crucial information regarding Deborah's activities and movements around the time of her death," she said.

"As part of the review, we are utilising new and enhanced forensic DNA testing on the dog lead 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 has information about who was responsible for Deborah's murder to come forward."

The $500,000 reward is for information which leads to a conviction.

The government reward also offers an opportunity for indemnity against prosecution for any accomplice, not being the person who actually committed the murder, who first gives such information.

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This story Reward for information into Capalaba cold case first appeared on Redland City Bulletin.