| 15.03,19. 05:53 AM |
Mother and daughter reported missing to WA Police 20 years after they were last seen
Photo: Veronica Lockyer and her daughter Adell were living in WA's Wheatbelt in late 1998. (Supplied: WA Police)
WA Police have launched a homicide investigation in the search for a mother and her child who have not been seen for two decades, after the alarm was only recently raised by family members.
Veronica Philomena Lockyer and her child Adell Sherylee Partridge were last seen in Perth in late 1998, but had been living in the Merredin–Burracoppin area of the Wheatbelt.
Ms Lockyer was known to lead a transient lifestyle and had visited women's hostels and refuges in Perth, as well as in communities in northern WA.
She had six children but was only caring for seven-month-old Adell when she was last seen.
Police did not receive a missing persons report until one of Ms Lockyer's other children contacted them after attempting to reconnect with her mother in recent years.
Relatives shocked at date of last sighting
Detectives have spoken to a number of family members who, over the years, had all assumed Ms Lockyer was in contact with other relatives.
Police said the family was shocked to learn the last confirmed sighting of the pair was 20 years ago at a shopping centre in Midland in Perth's east.
Ms Lockyer's daughter Donna was two years old and living with other family members when her mother and Adell were last seen.
She now has children of her own and unsuccessfully tried to contact her mother in recent years, before reporting the pair missing in July 2018.
"My family thought she was living in Perth with myself and Adell, and I grew up thinking that she lived in Port Hedland, so that's where the gap is," she said.
"I've only just learnt that my mother is missing and it's important to me because it's been 20 years.
"My mother has not been in my life, my sister has not been in my life and it feels like missing pieces. My little family need to know who their grandmother and aunty is."
Police hold out hope amid 'challenges'
Detective Senior Sergeant Adrian Richards said it was a complicated investigation, but police were keeping an open mind.
"I'd be lying if I said it hasn't had its challenges," he said.
"Twenty years is a long time. We have issues of documents and records being destroyed, and obviously, unfortunately, potentially witnesses who are no longer with us."
Detective Senior Sergeant Richards said while the investigation was being handled by the homicide squad, it was possible the pair were still alive.
"Obviously Veronica and Adell's family, along with the WA Police Force, are hopeful that they're alive and well," he said.
"However, it's been a significant period of time.
"The fact that they've been missing for 20 years, no one has seen them, we have no documentation or record since late 1998, that gives us serious concerns about their welfare."
Police said Ms Lockyer would often style her hair covering the left side of her face, which had a physical impairment.
She is described as being Aboriginal, 162 centimetres tall, of medium build with brown hair and brown eyes.
Ms Lockyer would now be 54, and her missing daughter would be 20.