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Man (63) charged over three-year-old's mysterious disappearance 50 years ago


(stock photo)

(stock photo)

(stock photo)

Police have charged a man over the mysterious disappearance of a toddler from an Australian beach nearly 50 years ago.

A 63-year-old man who was once considered a person of interest in the 1970 disappearance of Cheryl Grimmer was arrested on Wednesday.

New South Wales police Detective Inspector Brad Ainsworth told reporters: "I'm not going to get into the specifics of the actual detail of the offences, but I can say that they're quite horrific and they'll be unfolding in court."

The man, whose name was not released, was 16 when three-year-old Cheryl vanished from a beach in the New South Wales city of Wollongong.

The toddler, who had spent the morning at the beach with her mother and three brothers, went into a changing area with her siblings while their mother packed up their belongings. Cheryl was never seen again, and her body was never found.

Police believe Cheryl was taken from the front of the changing area and died within an hour of her abduction, Mr Ainsworth said.

The man accused over her disappearance was interviewed after the toddler disappeared, but was never charged.

Police reopened the case last year, and on Wednesday, interviewed the man again.

He was arrested the same day and will face court on Thursday charged with murder and abduction, police said.

PA Media