$50,000 reward for information 27-year-old case

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A reward of up to $50,000 is being offered by police seeking answers about the disappearance of Luana Deborah Laverne Williams from Tauranga 27 years ago.

Luana, known by family as Laverne, was last seen on the evening of 5 June, 1986 at her home address in Munro Street and was reported missing by her partner.

Ms Williams remains missing and her disappearance is being treated as a homicide. Like all major unsolved investigations it has been subject to intermittent review.

Today's announcement is the result of the most recent review along with new information that has come to light.

Detective Inspector Mark Loper said he was not prepared to be specific about the new information as he did not wish to jeopordise the case.

"What I can say is that the most recent review of this case began approximately 18 months ago. A number of enquiries fell out of the review and as we carried out those enquiries we received information from members of the public which we are now actively pursuing.

"It is information that hasn't previously been brought to our attention and has taken the investigation in a different direction; beyond that I cannot comment."

Police have met with Ms Williams' family to update them on the latest developments and will continue to keep them regularly informed. They do not wish at this stage to speak publicly but have issued a written statement.

"It is important to us that we do everything we can to bring answers to Luana's family; time doesn't diminish our resolve; it just serves to heighten it.

"Historical cases are not without their challenges. However police processes and technology have advanced and over time the relationships and allegiances of people who have information or were involved in a crime can change, and we can take advantage of those changes. You only have to look at the conviction earlier this year for the 1971 murder of Rodney Tahu in Turangi to see that the passage of time isn't necessarily an obstacle."

The reward will be paid for material information or evidence which establishes the location of Luana Williams and/or leads to the conviction of any person or persons responsible for her disappearance or death.

Anyone with information relevant to Operation Williams is asked to contact Tauranga Police on 07 577 4300. Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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