Husband of missing mom at center of popular ‘Teacher’s Pet’ podcast arrested for murder

The husband of a woman who disappeared from Australia over three decades ago and is the subject of a true-crime podcast listened to by millions, was arrested Wednesday in Queensland.

Chris Dawson, the husband of Lynette Dawson, was reportedly arrested on suspicion of murder this week, more than 35 years after his wife disappeared.

As previously reported by CrimeOnline, Lynette Dawson vanished without a trace at the age of 33 in 1982, leaving behind two young children.

Dawson, who is now 70, was taken into custody Wednesday after police said they had enough evidence to charge him with his wife’s murder, BBC reports. The suspect continues to deny any involvement in the alleged crime against Lynette, whose body has not been found, and reportedly claimed she left her family “for a religious group.”

Coroners’ inquests performed in 2001 and 2003 recommended that the man be charged with his former wife’s murder, according to an earlier report by the news station. The latter inquest alleges that Chris, a former physical education teacher, had sexual affairs with teenage students.

As the podcast “The Teacher’s Pet” documents, a 16-year-old girl moved in with Chris Dawson, a former teacher and celebrated rugby athlete, and his two children within mere days of Lynette’s disappearance. The couple married but divorced after 12 years of marriage. In a “60 Minutes” segment about Lynette’s mysterious vanishing, her daughter said that her father and his new wife never spoke of her mother.

A forensic search of Lynette’s former home, located in an upscale neighborhood of Sydney, was reportedly conducted on September 12. The quest, which included the use of earth-drilling machinery to dig up the area surrounding a swimming pool of the home in an effort to uncover evidence, did not bring any new evidence forward.

“The operation, conducted as part of ongoing investigations into the suspected murder of Lynette Dawson, commenced last Wednesday and concluded today,” authorities said in a statement to The Australian at the time. “Police have not located Lynette’s remains or any items of interest to the investigation.”

In 2000, a pink cardigan “bearing marks consistent with a stabbing” was discovered buried in the ground next to the pool, according to the newspaper.

Despite not having located Lynette’s remains, police expressed confidence in Dawson’s arrest, which “followed three years of renewed investigations,” according to BBC.

“We are confident with the case,” Supt Scott Cook told reporters on Wednesday.

“We won’t give up on trying to identify the whereabouts of Lynette Dawson, but, from our perspective, it is not crucial to finalising the matter.”

Lynette’s brother, Greg Simms, expressed to Nine News the family’s relief at the arrest.

“I was just ecstatic that we’ve got a result. We were always hopeful but if you look back over the years you could say we’ve been kicked in the guts a few times, but we’ve got there,” he said.

“We’ve always been determined to find the truth and that’s the reason why we’ve fought to keep Lyn’s name alive and out there with all the different media.”

The news station reported that “The Teacher’s Pet” creator, journalist Hedley Thomas, “is likely to be called as a witness” in Dawson’s upcoming trial. The podcast reportedly “unearthed witnesses” who had no previous contact with officials.

Dawson is reportedly behind held without bail. He is expected to be extradited to New South Wales to stand trial.


[Feature photo: Lynette Dawson, handout]