The series cracks open three cold cases, including Lyn’s.
Deb tells New Idea she jumped at the chance to bring the unsolved homicides, all tied to a $1 million reward, back to life.
“It’s the icing on the cake when this happens because we know a whole hour will be dedicated to the stories of their loved ones with the hope of bringing justice for the terrible tragedy they’ve suffered,” Deb explains.
“Before we spoke, Paul told me his memory may not be as good now that he’s older. But as soon as I got talking to him, he remembered every detail of what occurred that day … he has carried that with him forever.”
As well as Lyn’s murder, Deb is investigating Melissa Hunt’s mysterious death.
Her brother Peter Hallett hopes the reward on offer, and TV exposure might help uncover new leads.
Melissa, 22, was found floating in a remote dam on the outskirts of Newcastle, NSW, on Anzac Day, 1994. Investigations revealed the mother of two died of severe head injuries and her body was found weighed down by rocks.
Despite decades of work, the case still baffles police.
“Melissa was robbed of her life and of her right to know and love her children, and as a family we cannot rest until justice is served,” Peter says.
The third case the series focuses on is Gerard Ross. On October 14, 1997, the 11-year-old was on his way to a comic store when he vanished from a quiet street in Rockingham, WA, and was murdered.
Gerard was with his brother, who had skated ahead on his rollerblades. Police found his body two weeks later, in a pine plantation about 20km southeast of Rockingham.
“We need the community to engage, contribute and if they do know anything to come forward,” implores Deb, adding it could “bring some justice for the victims and their families.”
Deb learned first-hand the importance of appealing to the public to solve crimes very early in her career.
Her first job at 25 was on the switchboard at Blacktown Police Station, in Sydney’s West.
Deb recalls being asked by the police investigating Anita Cobby’s disappearance to dress up in the young nurse’s clothes and take part in a re-enactment for the media. Weeks later the murderers were arrested.
“I played such a minor role, but I was then able to stay on the case assisting the lead detectives,” she says.
“That was career-changing for me because I saw a huge level of passion, commitment, and grit and thought ‘This is where I need to be’.”
The case set in motion Deb’s 36-year career in the police force. Meeting Anita’s parents, Grace and Garry Lynch, also led her to support their legacy the NSW Homicide Victims’ Support Group.
Deb says that Million Dollar Murders has given her the chance to go a step further than simply supporting families.
The show allows her to really get inside their emotions and the desperate need to hold someone accountable for such heinous crimes.
Anybody with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers. Visit crimestoppers.com.au
Watch Million Dollar Murders on Channel 9 and 9Now.