Police launch a new search in a 40-year-old cold case

UPDATE: Police from State Crime Command’s Homicide Group have charged a 66-year-old man with drug trafficking offences following a raid at a Warwick property yesterday.

Investigators executed a search warrant at the address in the hope of finding information about the 1974 disappearance and suspected murder of Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters Leanne and Vicki.

Durinf the raid, police located a significant amount of cannabis and cash. The house has been declared a crime scene and investigations will continue at the property today.


The man is in custody and will appear in Toowoomba Magistrates Court today.

EARLIER (TUESDAY): COLD Case Unit detectives have today executed search warrants as part of their renewed investigation into the 1974 disappearance and suspected murder of Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters Leanne and Vicki.

Barbara, Leanne and Vicki disappeared from their Highgate Hill, Brisbane residence on the night of January 16, 1974. They have not been heard from since and their bodies have never been located.

In January this year cold case detectives commenced a full review of the 40-year-old case with a new focus on the motive for the suspected murders.

Detective Superintendent Steve Holahan of the Homicide Group said investigators received significant new evidence as a result of the appeal made by Barbara’s family in January this year.

“Detectives have interviewed potential witnesses across Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria and have uncovered compelling new evidence surrounding events that took place on the day of their disappearance and subsequent murders,” he said.

“Based on the evidence collected, we now believe we have identified several motives for their murders. Barbara McCulkin may have had knowledge about serious crimes and the young McCulkin girls may have been sexually assaulted,” he said.

Investigations are continuing to focus on information and persons of interest identified in the original investigation and coroner’s inquest held in 1980.

Today cold case investigators assisted by regional detectives and Crime and Corruption Commission investigators executed search warrants on two rural properties in the Warwick area.

“We believe the search of these properties may help us corroborate crucial information gathered during this renewed investigation,” he said.

A rewarded of $250,000 for information which leads to the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder of Barbara May McCulkin, Vicki Maree McCulkin and Barbara Leanne (known as Leanne) McCulkin is offered. In addition, an appropriate indemnity from prosecution will be recommended for any accomplice for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for these murders.

Any person who has information in relation to this matter should contact the Homicide Squad direct or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.