Rose Howell went missing over 17 years ago from her Bellingen home town

Rose Howell, then aged 18.


POLICE are appealing for information, as part of Missing Persons Week, to help locate a Bellingen teenager who went missing over 17 years ago.

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Rose Howell, then aged 18, left her home in the Bellingen township of Repton on the afternoon of Friday 11 April 2003.

Her mother believed Rose had intended to meet friends in Bellingen, and it was not unusual for her to spend the night at one of her friends’ homes.

On Sunday 13 April 2003, Rose was reported missing to police after she failed to return home and meet her mother for an 11am appointment.

At the time of her disappearance, Rose was described as being of Caucasian appearance, with an olive complexion, about 160-165cm tall, with hazel eyes and short, dark hair worn in a Mohawk.

Rose also had a condition in her right leg which caused her to walk with a slight limp.

During the investigation into her disappearance, police received reports that Rose was seen hitch-hiking on the southbound lanes of the Pacific Highway, near the Bundagen turn off, on Friday 11 April 2003.

In December 2012, a coronial inquest found that it was likely Ms Howell had died, but the date, place and cause of death was undetermined.

The NSW Police Force Missing Persons Registry Manager, Detective Inspector Glen Browne, said police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding Rose’s disappearance and urge anyone with information to come forward.

“At the time of her disappearance, Rose was excited about her upcoming 19th birthday party. Today, she would have been be 36 years old,” Det Insp Browne said.

“Rose was a strong, independent young woman in the prime of her life. She had a keen interest in local theatre, played the bass guitar and wrote songs.

“We encourage anyone in the community that may have information to come forward, regardless of how insignificant you think it may be.

“After a 17-year search for answers, that small piece of information may be a step towards providing some peace to Rose’s mum and loved ones,” Det Insp Browne said.

Anyone with information about Rose Howell’s disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Information is treated in strict confidence. The community is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Missing Persons Week is an annual national campaign to raise awareness of the issues and impacts surrounding missing persons and runs between Sunday 2 August and Saturday 8 August 2020.

For more information on the campaign visit

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