Missing woman case bumped to murder investigation

DETECTIVES have confirmed they are now treating the mystery disappearance of a young NSW woman as a murder investigation.

Leisl Smith, 23, has not been seen since she left her Central Coast home on Sunday, August 19.

Her abandoned car was found at a train station a few days later.

Earlier this month police interviewed a 42-year-old man and scoured two properties at Wallarah and Brookfield but found no trace of Leisl.

Since then, the search area has been widened to the Upper Hunter Valley.

Police believe Leisl has been murdered and officers from the diving and dog squads are combing through bushland about 60kms west of Scone.

Detective Inspector Chris Welfare, said Leisl's family had been informed police "no longer hold out hope of finding her alive".

Anyone with information is urged to contact Strike Force Wehl at Wyong Police Station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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