A reward of up to $1 million for information that helps the NSW Police Force solve the 1974 murder of Maria Smith has been announced today by the NSW Government.

This is only the second time a $1 million reward has been offered in NSW to help solve a crime and the first time since the new rewards system was announced in December 2017. The Minister for Police Troy Grant welcomed the reward for the unsolved murder of Maria Smith and encouraged anyone with information on the case to come forward.

“No matter how long a case goes unsolved, the family and friends of the victim have to live with their grief as well as the knowledge that justice has not been served,” Mr Grant said. “At the time of her murder, Maria was 20 years old and had only recently been married. It’s time to give her family and loved ones closure.

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“Under the new system investigations involving the most serious offences, such as murder, can have a maximum reward of $1 million in order to generate renewed public interest in the case and prompt fresh information that could lead to an arrest.” Maria Smith’s death is one of around 500 cold cases currently being re-investigated by the Homicide Squad’s Unsolved Homicide Unit, Strike Force Auris.

Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Scott Cook said Maria’s murder had an incredible impact on the community at the time, but it is nothing compared to the suffering her family have endured over the last 44 years.

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“At the time of the murder, investigators had a number of possible theories about the motives of Maria’s killer, including links to the murder of Lynette White,” Det Supt Cook said. “Having reviewed both cases, we are now conducting separate investigations into each of these matters.”

Strike Force Auris investigators would like to speak to anyone who lived in the Smith’s unit block – 14-20 St Marks Road Randwick – in early 1974, and re-interview various people including friends and work colleagues. Rewards for unsolved crimes are used as part of an investigative strategy and are not appropriate for every case. The first $1 million reward offered by the NSW Government was for information that leads to the recovery of William Tyrell.