Police have described the newest clues in the missing 13-year-old Boronia schoolgirl Siriyakorn "Bung" Siriboon case as an ‘‘odd scenario’’.
Homicide detectives say a young Asian girl, wearing a light, collared shirt and a dark-blue V-neck jumper, was seen in the back seat of a white EA to EF-model Ford Falcon station wagon on the morning she vanished.
New lead in missing schoolgirl 'Bung' Siriboon case
Homicide detectives say a young Asian girl was seen in the back seat of a white EA to EF-model Ford Falcon station wagon on the morning Bung vanished. Nine News
The car was reportedly being driven by a fair-skinned man in his late 50s to early 60s, who was wearing a blue singlet.
Police have described the man as having light-brown hair, combed back into a "rock-n-roll" style. He also had a coloured tattoo on his upper left arm.
A witness saw the car at traffic lights in Boronia Road, Boronia, facing east at the intersection of Floriston Road, just east of Dorset Road.
The Ford was then reportedly seen driving east along Boronia Road, and through the roundabout at Albert Road.
Homicide Squad Detective Inspector John Potter said despite police having had access to the information for some time, they had chosen to release it on the third anniversary of Bung’s disappearance.
Detective Inspector Potter said while investigators could not confirm the girl in the vehicle was Bung, it was a lead they were pursuing.
"The sighting may well be completely innocent, but it is relevant to us and we need to investigate it,” Detective Inspector Potter said.
“It’s now been three years since Bung left home and failed to arrive at school that day and has not been seen or heard from since."
Detective Inspector Potter said the witness, who was also driving when she spotted the white vehicle before the traffic lights, felt that there was something ‘‘odd’’ about the scenario.
‘‘That day, there was something out of place with regard to that scenario,’’ he said.
‘‘We had a male Caucasian in his late 50s to early 60s driving with an Asian girl in her teens in the back seat, and, according to our information, that didn’t fit - there was something odd about that, so we believe it’s worth following up.’’
The detective said the girl was spotted looking out the window towards other traffic.
The sighting contradicted a previous possible sighing of the schoolgirl, which placed her in Harcourt Road, crossing Paisley Avenue, on foot about 8.55am.
‘‘She can’t have been in two places at once ... so we need to work out exactly what was going on here,’’ he said.
Detective Inspector Potter said police were not placing any weight on either sighting, because ‘‘the only confirmed sighting ... was by a neighbour in Elsie Street’’ at 8.30 that morning.
The information follows hundreds of calls police have received since Bung vanished on her way to school.
In August last year, a 24-year-old man told police he accidentally ran over and killed the schoolgirl, then dumped her body in a nearby reserve.
Police searched parkland near Bung’s house in August, and Old Joe’s Creek Reserve, a nearby creek bed, in October. No trace of her was found.
The 24-year-old was interviewed again in October and remains a person of interest.
Detective Inspector Potter said police would continue to investigate several ‘‘persons of interest’’, but that so far, no one matched the description of the Ford driver or owned a similar car.
In October, police announced they had dismantled the taskforce created to find Bung’s killer, but detectives continued to investigate several leads.
Bung’s family has continued to express hope for Bung’s return. Earlier this year, Bung’s stepfather Fred Pattison said her mother Vanidda received ongoing advice from Buddhist monks and mediums that their daughter was still alive.
’’Being a Buddhist, my wife goes to the temple and talks to monks and things like that, and they still - every medium or card reader, or person that we believe in and trust - have all said the same thing, that she’s alive somewhere.’’
’’She’s coming home, there’s someone out there who won’t let her go, or for some reason she can’t get home,’’ he said.
’’You can’t believe anything else.’’
A $1 million reward and the chance of immunity from prosecution for information about her disappearance was announced in February this year.