20 years on: What really happened to Llangollen antiques dealer Trevaline Evans?

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

POLICE at the time said it was the strangest case they had ever investigated.

It prompted one of the biggest investigations that North Wales has ever seen but, two decades on, the disappearance of Llangollen antiques dealer Trevaline Evans remains as much a mystery as the day she vanished.

Trevaline was 52 years old when she disappeared on Saturday, June 16, 1990.

She left her shop, Attic Antiques, on Church Street, at about 12.40pm, leaving a note on the door stating she would be “back in two minutes”.

At about 1pm, Trevaline bought an apple and a banana and was seen crossing Castle Street.

It is thought she may have returned to her shop at this point as a banana skin was found in a waste bin there, though it was impossible to know whether it was the one bought that day.

If she did return to the shop then she was curiously unnoticed and what she did for the next hour and 30 minutes is unclear.

The last confirmed sighting of Trevaline was near her home on Market Street at 2.30pm.

But there were two more sightings – although both are unconfirmed.

Five minutes after Trevaline was seen on Market Street, a woman matching her description was seen walking out of town, along the A5 towards Corwen, beside the riverside park.

A further one hour and 10 minutes later, at 3.45pm, there was another sighting, this time of her walking into Park Avenue from the direction of the River Dee.

And then she vanished.

The note she had left on the door of the shop would suggest Trevaline had not meant to stay out for long.

What makes the case even more strange is that she had left her handbag and jacket at the shop along with fruit and flowers that she had intended to take home.

Speaking to the Leader in 1992, Det Chief Insp Colin Edwards, who was heading the continuing investigation into Trevaline's disappearance, said: “It is without doubt the strangest inquiry I have ever been involved with.

“How a happily married woman could vanish without trace on a sunny Saturday morning in a busy town centre is totally baffling.”

On the morning she vanished Trevaline opened her shop at the usual time of 9.30am, having parked her dark blue Ford Escort estate 30 yards away.

During the morning there 25 friends and visitors had called in and according to the friends who visited, Trevaline appeared relaxed and happy and had made plans to go out that night.

Trevaline’s husband, Richard, was away during the week of her disappearance and was renovating the couple’s holiday bungalow on the coast at Rhuddlan.

Trevaline herself had spent a couple of days in Rhuddlan earlier in the week of her disappearance but had returned to Llangollen on Wednesday, June 13.

When the case was reopened in 2001, the main focus of the inquiry was Trevaline’s movements between her return to Llangollen on the Wednesday and her disappearance on the Saturday.

Posters were put up around Llangollen and in neighbouring villages with photographs of Trevaline and details of the last sightings.

The information police have of this three-day period is fragmented: one report suggested she had been in Gales wine bar early on the Friday evening, but this report came from two Scottish tourists and none of the locals could recall seeing her there.

An artist’s impression of a man in a blazer apparently seen in her company had been drawn up and circulated during the investigation in 1990.

However, it had failed to bring anyone forward and was later disregarded as no longer accurate by officers in 2001.

At that time Trevaline’s husband was arrested by the police, interviewed and released without charge.

There have been numerous twists over the years and new leads the police have followed up but came to nothing.

One of the best-known leads was the apparent sighting of Trevaline in a remote town in Australia.

She was also supposedly seen in London and Interpol were drafted in to probe possible sightings of her in France.

One of the strangest lines of inquiry happened in 1993 but again proved fruitless.

Police sniffer dogs searched a canal bank near Llangollen after a woman who had been walking there wrote to police stating that she had been “overwhelmed” by a feeling that Trevaline was nearby.

This was not the only such lead – the year before an area of woodland in the World’s End area had been searched after a spiritualist medium said she was convinced Trevaline was there.

Trevaline’s disappearance has baffled police for years and both the detectives who headed the case at the time and when it reopened have since retired.

Despite a full-scale investigation, the re-opening of the case and numerous television appeals, what happened to Trevaline Evans 20 years ago remains a complete mystery.

See full story in the Leader

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