Police search sand hills for Ronald Penn

SPECIALIST police and cadaver dogs will continue searching sand dunes for the remains of a Central Coast man believed to have been murdered nearly 20 years ago.

Ronald Penn, 61, was last seen at a Bateau Bay house on October 12, 1995 – the same day he was stopped by police at Charlestown regarding an apprehended violence order.

Two weeks later, Mr Penn’s white Mazda van was found burnt-out in bushland on Berkeley Road, Berkeley Vale.

Strike Force Rankmore detectives recently received information suggesting three men may have been in the near vicinity of Mr Penn’s car shortly after it was set alight around 10pm.

Two of the men are described as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander appearance, while the third man is described as being of Caucasian appearance.

A police statement released on Wednesday said all three were seen leaving the scene of the burning Mazda van in a red Ford Laser hatchback.

Ronald Penn. Pic: NSW Police

Detectives have also been provided with information suggesting Mr Penn’s body may be buried on a sand-hill within the Tuggerah Lakes area.

Detectives, along with the assistance of specialist police and a cadaver dog, commenced a search of local sand-hills on Tuesday.

The dig will continue on Wednesday.

“We are absolutely committed to solving this case and putting those responsible for Mr Penn’s death behind bars,” Tuggerah Lakes crime manager Detective Inspector Dave Waddell said.

“Mr Penn’s family and friends have suffered for far too long; they need to know what happened to Ron.

“The information and support we have received from members of the community has been invaluable, and we are very grateful for the help they have provided.

“If there is anyone else out there who can assist detectives, please do get in touch.

“We don’t need to know who you are; all we need is the information you have to hand. You can contact Crime Stoppers anonymously and your call will be treated in the strictest of confidence.”

Investigations have revealed Mr Penn had his clothes and personal belongings with him when he vanished.

None of his bank accounts have been accessed and his driver’s licence has not been renewed since he went missing.