Louise Bell murder accused in Port Lincoln court

Deputy Commissioner Grant Stevens speaks to the media at a press conference inside Adelaide Police Station on Tuesday.
Deputy Commissioner Grant Stevens speaks to the media at a press conference inside Adelaide Police Station on Tuesday.
Police arrested a man in Port Lincoln in connection with the 1983 murder of Adelaide schoolgirl Louise Bell.

Police arrested a man in Port Lincoln in connection with the 1983 murder of Adelaide schoolgirl Louise Bell.

Dieter Pfennig, 65, has appeared in Port Lincoln Magistrates court charged with the 1983 murder of Adelaide schoolgirl Louise Bell. 

Deputy Commissioner Grant Stevens told a packed press room in Adelaide on Tuesday that the past 30 years had taken its toll on the family of Louise, 10.

"She was last seen when she was put to bed by her parents ... her sister was in the same room," he said.

"We allege the person we arrested today broke in and took Louise."

Detectives from Major Crime in Adelaide travelled to Port Lincoln. The man was interviewed and formally charged with murder on Tuesday.

He will appear in court again in February.

Ten-year-old Louise Bell was last seen when she went to bed on January 4, 1983 at her Meadow Way, Hackham West home. At some point during the night she was abducted from her bedroom.

As part of the police investigation, more than 550 statements have been taken and police have conducted extensive searches to locate her remains. Despite these searches, Louise’s remains have not been located.

Deputy Commissioner Stevens said a two-year, comprehensive review of the investigation identified a number of new lines of inquiry.

“This arrest is the culmination of the relentless work of all those police involved over the years combined with the dedicated efforts of Forensic Science SA personnel," he said.

"Murder investigations never close and police do follow up every line of inquiry in the hope that each case is solved and the justice process completed.

“Police have had on-going contact with the Bell family during the past 30 years and continue that contact today. Louise’s family remain devastated by her disappearance and remain hopeful that her remains will, one day, be found.

“Police will continue to work hard to meet this expectation. It is never too late and police will take action whenever possible."

Anyone with information that they think could assist with the investigation should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online atwww.sa.crimestoppers.com.au