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As Melbourne farewelled murder victim Jill Meagher yesterday, the murder of a Ballarat woman remains unsolved.
Nanjing Night Net

Jill Meagher, 29, was raped, murdered and dumped in a rural roadside grave after a night out in Brunswick two weeks ago.

Tracey Howard, 33, was found dead in a paddock only metres from a rural road just outside of Ballarat after a night out 14 years ago.

Police have a suspect in custody for Jill’s murder.

They have no idea who was responsible for Tracey’s death.

There is still a $100,000 reward for information on what happened to Tracey Howard in the early hours of November 22, 1998.

After a night of partying with a girlfriend, Tracey left what was then Cheers Nightclub in Lydiard Street and walked over to a taxi rank on the corner of Lydiard and Sturt Street.

Her friends never saw her again.

Tracey’s naked body was found 17 hours later, strangled and face-up – though not sexually assaulted – in long grass besides Clarkes Hill road.

Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit Detective Sergeant Steve Howard – no relation – said there were many differences between the cases of Jill Meagher and Tracey Howard.

Detective Sergeant Howard said Tracey left the venue, got into a taxi and was dropped off “in the vicinity of her home”.

He said the taxi driver let her out, but drove off without paying any attention as to whether or not she walked across the road and inside her house.

“Tracey wasn’t whisked off the street like Jill,” he said. Former Ballarat resident Wendy Campbell said at the time of Tracey’s murder, she was a third year university student and going out in Ballarat regularly. She said she had never even heard of the murder. That night, Tracey Howard was wearing black stretch jeans, a red velour top and black lace-up ankle length boots.

She had curly shoulder-length hair hair and was described as about 162 cm tall, with a slim build.

Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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