A woman vanishes in a small coastal town. A hardened detective devotes himself to the case. Police immediately begin to sift through her belongings, and carefully examine the word of those who saw her last.
On the ground, search and rescue crews, coupled with dozens of volunteers, spend 10 days searching; crawling through dense bush, scouring clifftops and diving into waterways.
Missing mum Elisa Curry. Photo: Supplied
But Elisa Curry is still missing.
Victoria Police Inspector Peter Seel, who’s been leading the search, fears that ultimately, it may fall upon a coroner to determine the truth about her fate.
“We haven’t arrived to any conclusion as to what may have happened. We are looking at all aspects, from suicide to accident to all the possibilities,” Inspector Seel told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.
“But ultimately, if Elisa is not found, it will be up to a coroner to decide what they think occurred.”
The search so far has yielded no sign of the mother of three who was last seen at the family holiday home in Aireys Inlet, near the Great Ocean Road, on grand final night on September 30.
“The longer it goes on, the less likely it is for you to give the family an answer,” Inspector Seel said.
“It is distressing for her husband, her father, her brother, her children, her friends. And it is disappointing that we can’t give them an answer.”
The 43-year-old marathon runner watched the big game with a female friend who left the house a little while after it ended.
Two neighbours also visited her on Saturday night, the husband and wife both left and the wife later came back and saw Ms Curry get into bed.
When her family returned home on Sunday morning after going to the MCG for the grand final, they found Ms Curry, the family dog and her mobile phone missing.
The black Labrador was later found roaming nearby streets.
On the weekend, after the initial intensive seven-day hunt was scaled down, police set up an information caravan outside the Aireys Inlet general store with the hope of finding some fresh leads.
So far, detectives have spoken to more than 150 members of the public but there has been no “breakthrough” clue.
“Detectives are following up all the information we have received from the caravan, and are in constant contact with Elisa’s family,” Inspector Seel said.
“We are still going through all the information – some [tips] have corroborated what we already knew and some have been reassessed by detectives.”
Clues about Ms Curry’s state of mind in the hours before she vanished were also being examined by police.
On grand final night, Ms Curry had been discussing a “personal” matter with a female friend.
“I’m not going to comment on her personal life,” Inspector Seel said, declining to elaborate further on this aspect of the search.
On Sunday, depending on the weather, divers will be sent out and the search will continue.
There are also plans for bush and recuse crews to assist in looking through an area detectives want to double-check based on information they received from the information caravan.
The search for Ms Curry has been coastal and inland. The bush in the area is incredibly dense – making it difficult for search crews to move quickly and be confident Ms Curry is not in the areas that have been covered.
“You can be five to 10 metres off the bush track and the bush is so thick that you wouldn’t be able see it,” said Inspector Seel.
“It’s very very thick. And even with the helicopter … because of the foliage of the trees it is difficult to see down as well,” he said.
Ten days of searching have proved fruitless. Photo: Jason South
He said support from the community had been overwhelming – noting that on each day of the search in the first week there had been about 30 volunteers who turned up to help look for Ms Curry.
Inspector Seel said that if new information was received, detectives may recommence the search.