The double murder of a brother and sister in their home has puzzled detectives for 30 years, but a major breakthrough has been made.
The double murder of a brother and sister in their home has puzzled detectives for 30 years, but a major breakthrough has been made.

Man arrested in siblings' cold case murder breakthrough

Police have arrested a man in relation to a brutal cold case double murder.

Homicide squad detectives arrested a 58-year-old Rowville man on Thursday relating to the murder of 71-year-old Doris McCartney and her brother Ronald Swann, 69.

The man was escorted into police custody on Thursday morning and will be interviewed by detectives this afternoon.

He was photographed in a police vehicle wearing a baseball cap covering his face.

Last week the Herald Sun revealed police were announcing a $1 million reward over the Moorabbin murder.

Ms McCartney and Mr Swann were found strangled in their shared Keith St, Moorabbin house on October 22, 1989.

There were no signs of forced entry and nothing had been taken.

But it later emerged a key was kept in the property's fuse box and that others were aware of this.

There was no clear motive but investigators concluded someone had come to the house to meet Mrs McCartney and a fatal altercation occurred.

Doris McCartney (pictured) and her brother Ronald Swann, 69. They were found dead in their shared Keith St, Moorabbin, house on October 22, 1989
Doris McCartney (pictured) and her brother Ronald Swann, 69. They were found dead in their shared Keith St, Moorabbin, house on October 22, 1989

Last week Detective Inspector Tim Day of the homicide squad said someone knows what happened to the siblings and it was time they came clean.

"Over the years we have followed up a number of avenues of inquiry and interviewed several people," he said.

"While there are areas I can't go into, I will say that this is very much an active case - some of those lines of inquiry are still open to us and have only emerged relatively recently.

"Today is not only about appealing to the public for information but also offering the opportunity for whoever is responsible to come forward and give their account.

"There will be someone out there why knows why Doris and Ronald were killed and by who - 31 years is a long time to carry a secret.

Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Newman of the homicide squad told a 1991 inquest Mrs McCartney had been sexually "used and abused" by men and boys aged 15 to 86 since she was widowed 10 years earlier.

A coroner said male visitors included young members of a local cricket club, schoolboys, council workers and men who lived nearby.

The bodies were located by a friend of Mrs McCartney.

A number of people were interviewed but no one charged.

Mr Day said the siblings' family have carried around the pain of their unsolved deaths for more than three decades and deserve answers.

"This is a family that has suffered the loss of two loved ones in the most horrific circumstances, without ever knowing why," Mr Day said.

"I'm asking anyone out there who does have information about Doris and Ronald's death, no matter what that information might be, to please come forward and speak to police.

"It is no less than their family deserves after all this time."

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

brianna.travers@news.com.au

Originally published as Man arrested in cold case breakthrough

Ronald Swann.
Ronald Swann.

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