Last family member may die without answers to woman's murder
THE last surviving brother of suspected murder victim Lucille Butterworth says he may die without answers to "the perfect crime", as the family now mourn the loss of her fiancé.
Since age 15, John Butterworth - now 66 - has searched tirelessly for information into the disappearance of his sister who vanished from a Claremont bus stop in 1969, aged 20.
The Butterworth family was last year given hope of finding Lucille's remains after Mr Butterworth was informed of a witness coming forward to police.
But no tangible evidence has been found.
Lucille's fiancee John Fitzgerald this week passed away following a long illness, aged 74.
The pair met through their shared love of ballroom dancing, and developed a relationship while working at nearby shops in New Norfolk.
Mr Butterworth described his late sister's partner as "very astute and a good businessman" who will be missed.
"He was quite a go-getter and sort of an entrepreneurial-type in his earlier days," Mr Butterworth said.
"John spent some time living in Melbourne where he ran a takeaway business before coming home where he was quite successful in running a New Norfolk bottle shop.
"He was just a lovely guy, very gentle, and was pretty good to me when Lucille went missing. He used to come over to my parents house to speak with my mother following Lucille's disappearance. He and mum used to comfort each other."
Mr Butterworth said he was saddened that Mr Fitzgerald died without finding answers into Lucille's disappearance.
His death follows the passing of Lucille's parents years prior, and the death of her brother, Jim, last year.
"It's very upsetting. Jim's passed away, Mum and Dad are gone, now John Fitzgerald's gone. To be honest, I cannot see this ever being solved," Mr Butterworth said.
"I still hold a small hope that someone may come forward, but it's 51 years and it's very hard not to come to terms with it.
"It's got to the situation where, although it's still open, unless someone comes forward with credible information, I can't see it going anywhere and I'm afraid, my wife Deb and I are going to pass away at some stage [without finding answers].
"I don't like to admit that somebody has committed a perfect crime, but it looks that way."
Mr Butterworth said the search for his late sister had taken an emotional toll but said his immediate family had been pillars of support.
"Over the last few months I've had some bad nights," he said.
"I talk to my daughter about it, and also Deb who has come to the conclusion that I have to get over it which I'm finding pretty difficult.
"I refuse to give up, I refuse to say that something won't reveal itself for us."
Originally published as Last family member may die without answers to 'perfect crime'