Police hope to break through a 10-year-old cold case of a missing hitchhiker in Cairns

Embroidered bag of personal belongings could hold key to solving hitchhiker’s 20-year mysterious disappearance

  • Detectives Are Convinced More Information Could Solve the Mystery of the Missing Woman
  • Joanne Butterfield went missing in North Queensland in 1998 after hitchhiking
  • Her embroidered bag was found near Innisfail, about two hours from Cairns
  • Mrs Butterfield’s credit cards were eerily sent home after her disappearance

Police hope to break through the two-decade mystery surrounding the ‘suspicious disappearance’ of a hitchhiker in northern Queensland.

Queensland police hope to unravel a mystery spanning more than two decades surrounding the ‘suspicious disappearance’ of a woman while hitchhiking in the far north of the state.

Joanne Butterfield was 37 when she disappeared near Captain Cook Highway north of Cairns in June 1998, after telling friends she was planning to hitchhike south.

Joanne Butterfield went missing after hitchhiking near Cairns in 1998

Three days later, the embroidered bag she took “everywhere” was found between a public lookout and the bank of a thatched train track at Innisfail, about two hours south.

An envelope containing Mrs. Butterfield’s Medicare card, bank cards, and personal documents was delivered to her Mossman home just over a week after she was last seen.

Detectives are now convinced that more information could lead to a breakthrough in the case.

They want to speak to anyone who saw a woman hitchhiking between Port Douglas and South Johnstone between Thursday, June 25 and Sunday, June 28, 1998.

Mrs Butterfield was last seen in a short black dress with shoulder straps, flat black shoes and her floral embroidered bag.

She is described as Caucasian, about 160 cm tall, with long auburn hair and blue eyes.

Joanne Butterfield's belongings were found on a public lookout after his disappearance

Joanne Butterfield’s belongings were found on a public lookout after his disappearance