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A true-crime podcast helped solve a 36-year-old cold case in Australia

A police car in Perth, Australia.Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images/File

When listeners reach the end of a true-crime podcast series, they hope that an unsolved cold case sees resolution.

In Australia, that actually happened.

Journalist Hedley Thomas hosted the true-crime podcast “The Teacher’s Pet,” which investigated the disappearance of Lynette Dawson, an Australian woman who went missing in 1982.

“I thank the public and the media for the partnership in solving this matter,” said New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller. “It is my understanding that there were two additional statements were the byproduct of the media and the work that the media has done, but essentially the case rests on the work of Dan Pool and the Unsolved Homicide Squad.”

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Fuller said in a press conference that New South Wales’ unsolved homicide squad began re-investigating Lynette Dawson’s disappearance since 2015, but new interviews from the podcast “helped [them] tie pieces of the puzzles together.”

On Sept. 10, police conducted a forensic search of Dawson’s former home in Bayview, a suburb of Sydney.

On Wednesday police arrested Chris Dawson, the husband of the missing woman, and charged him with her murder. The 70-year-old was arrested in Queensland and is being extradited to New South Wales.

“The Teacher’s Pet” is not the first true-crime podcast to lead to a new investigation. Hit podcast “Serial,” which investigated the murder of Baltimore high schooler Hae Min Lee and the subsequent arrest and prosecution of Adnan Syed, helped reveal little-known evidence regarding the case.

A Baltimore judge vacated Syed’s conviction two years agoand a court ordered a new trial after concluding that his trial lawyer was ineffective. On Nov. 29, Maryland’s highest court began hearing arguments on Syed’s appeal.


Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Abbi Matheson can be reached at abbi.matheson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AbbiMatheson

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