Photo: Police believe Steven Fenwick was murdered in January 2019. (Supplied: NSW Police)
A $500,000 reward has been announced for information on the disappearance and suspected murder of a man near Newcastle last year.
Steven 'Feno' Fenwick was last seen walking with his girlfriend at Stockton in the early hours of January 31 last year.
He had planned to meet up with her again later but never showed up.
Detective Sergeant Jeff Little said someone knows what happened and it was time to speak up.
"We know certain people are living with this burden and you've got to tell because holding a dark secret is concealing evil and everything hidden will ultimately be found out, " he said.
No evidence he drowned
Police believe Mr Fenwick's clothing strewn in sand dunes around Stockton was placed there in an effort to suggest he had drowned, and had not been murdered.
"Certain items of Steven's were located and folded up neatly," Detective Sergeant Little said.
"Our understanding is that that is just not something Steven would do.
"Also from all our inquiries he would not go swimming by himself.
"Unfortunately, Steven had lost a loved one who had drowned and he wouldn't go swimming by himself and certainly wouldn't take his clothes off."
Photo: Police divers search for Steven Fenwick's body after he disappeared on January 31 last year. (Supplied: NSW Police)
Pokie winnings part of investigation
Mr Fenwick had won money on poker machines at a local licensed venue in the hours before he vanished.
The winnings were part of investigations by Strikeforce Kummari, set up to investigate Mr Fenwick's disappearance.
Detective Sergeant Little said he would not reveal the amount Mr Fenwick won, so as not to impact their lines of inquiry.
"I will not say what that figure was and all I can say is that money remains outstanding," he said.
The detective said any information provided to police would be dealt with confidentially.
"Steven spent most of his time in the Port Stephens area, he was known by many, and he was just trying to make his way," he said.
"If you are hesitant, that is why we have Crime Stoppers and you can provide the information anonymously."
Mum's emotional plea to find her son
Mr Fenwick's mother, Debbie Fenwick, said she desperately wanted to know where her son was.
"Every day without answers is another day of heartache and confusion — we just want to know what happened," Ms Fenwick said.
"Please, if you know anything which may help detectives, it could make a world of difference."
Strike Force Kummari officers said they were hopeful the $500,000 reward would uncover fresh information and new leads.