Million Dollar Reward To Catch Cold Case Killer Of Teen Jessica Small

Police offer mammoth reward for information about the regional NSW murder.

It's the cold case that has plagued Bathurst since 1997.

Twenty-one years after Jessica Small was kidnapped and killed, police have upped the ante in the search for justice.

For anyone hiding information, there and are now one million reasons to give it up.

"We know there are people who know what happened to Jessica," homicide squad commander Detective Superintendent  said.

"We know there's people who are close to those people who were involved in Jessica's kidnapping and we're encouraging them to come forward. There's now a million reasons to come forward.”

Jessica Small, who was just 15 at the time, was last seen in the early hours of Sunday 26 October 1997.

She had visited the ‘Amuse Me’ amusement centre on Russell Street, Bathurst, with a female friend.

Jessica Small was a "sweet girl" with "an infectious laugh". IMAGE: supplied

It was a Saturday night, and by all accounts they were having fun. But their journey took a tragic turn when Jess and her friend tried to hitch a ride from a stranger in a white sedan.

He offered to take them back to their friends house, but when they got close, he stopped, turned off the lights, and tried to assault them both.

Her friend escaped and alerted authorities, but Jess was never seen again.

"We know there are other people who haven't told us things ... and we know that the people who weren’t involved, but know about it, still haven’t come forward," Cook said.

A 2014 inquest found Jessica was likely murdered, and a $100,000 reward was offered. Since then, police have been looking at new leads.

"Life has been empty without Jess," her mother Ricki Small said on Friday. 

"Never watching her graduate from school, or get married and have children.  We are hoping and praying that someone will come froward with the vital information we need to bring Jessica home."

Witnesses heard screams, and some have reported seeing a white sedan screaming off into the night.

That white sedan is again the focus of the investigation.

NSW Police released this image of the car Jessica and her friend are believed to have been picked up in.

Investigators now believe the last sighting of the vehicle was near Duramana Road and Willot Close, Eglinton, travelling toward Hill End.

“Investigators believe the Eglinton sighting is significant – it’s a fairly remote area and at that time, most of the roads weren’t sealed, so we expect the driver had local knowledge,” Superintendent Cook said.

Jess’s mother described her as a sweet girl, delightful, with an infectious laugh.

“She was just a beautiful child, a beautiful teenager.”

Jessica's mother Ricki Small  is still waiting for closure.

"It would really, really help my family to finally find the answers to her disappearance."

Contact the author jshields@networkten.com.au

Featured image: supplied