Announced December 2022
Detectives from the Missing Persons Squad are hopeful that a $1 million reward will assist in solving the suspicious disappearance of Mooroolbark girl, Cherie Westell.
Cherie, who was days away from her 16th birthday at the time, was last seen on Tuesday, 12 December, 2000 in Wantirna South.
Cherie was dropped off at Knox Dental Group at about 12pm for a dentist appointment. Cherie attended the dentist and left the practice at around 12.30pm.
At 1.58pm, Cherie telephoned home from a public telephone box situated on the corner of Selkirk Avenue and Wantirna Road, approximately five kilometres from the dentist.
Cherie spoke to a family member to let them know she intended to catch a train home to Ringwood. That was the last known contact anyone had with her.
At the time, Cherie was a ward of the state. Her previous foster mother, Frances, tried to make a police report immediately but was told a biological family member was required for that to occur.
As a result, the missing persons report was not filed until six days later. When Cherie was reported missing, an investigation commenced, however any trace of Cherie was unable to be located.
A coronial inquest occurred in 2003, with the coroner finding that Cherie has most likely died.
Police are of the belief that Cherie most likely met with foul play.
Police have spoken to and been assisted by several witnesses over the past 22 years and investigators continue to pursue new information.
Detectives hope that the reward will encourage someone with information about Cherie’s disappearance to come forward.
Police have released images of Cherie as part of this appeal.
A reward of up to $1M will be paid at the discretion of the Chief Commissioner of Police, for information leading to the apprehension and subsequent conviction of the person or persons responsible for Cherie’s disappearance.
The Director of Public Prosecutions will consider, according to established guidelines, the granting of indemnification from prosecution to any person who provide information as to the identity of the principal offender or offenders in this matter.
Reviewed 10 August 2023