Had it not been for a rogue rooster, and a young man searching for cannabis plants, the bodies of slain women Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon may never have been found dumped in bushland.
About two decades later, a Sprite bottle provided the last vital clue to catch Telstra technician Bradley Robert Edwards, who prosecutors say is the Claremont serial killer who haunted Perth in the mid-1990s.
But more than two years before detectives finally swooped, Edwards' second wife was "sick and tired of all the lies" and already living in fear for her life when she began trawling through his bank statements.
She testified at his Western Australia Supreme Court trial she was "scared stiffless" as she noted at least one bank statement was missing during the period when Ms Glennon was abducted and there had been ATM withdrawals from Claremont.
Edwards, 50, denies murdering secretary Sarah Spiers, 18, childcare worker Ms Rimmer, 23, and lawyer Ms Glennon, 27.
It is alleged Edwards' "emotional upset" about his first marriage breakdown correlated with the murders but she testified they were civil.
She rejected his offer to watch fireworks together in January 1996, which prosecutors say was the night Ms Spiers vanished.
Around the time Ms Rimmer disappeared in June 1996 prosecutors say Edwards learnt his former wife was pregnant to a friend-turned-boarder.
The next day, Ms Rimmer's watch was found by a man who had fallen off his horse.
Her body was found metres away almost two months later after a family stopped their car when a rooster ran in their path, after which the mother spotted the body while picking death lilies.
A Telstra-issued pocket knife was also found by two riders that day.
Around the time the marital home was sold in March 1997, a woman matching Ms Glennon's description was seen leaning into the window of a station wagon.
Her body was later found by a man searching for cannabis plants.
Prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo said the women had been "left to rot" and while Ms Spiers was never found, it was a "miracle" Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon were stumbled upon, covered in branches.
They had "sawing" cuts to their necks and injuries indicating they fought back.
The investigation into Edwards slowly ramped up in 2013, when a silk kimono dropped during an attack on an 18-year-old woman in her Huntingdale home in 1988 was boxed.
Testing in 2016 showed semen stains allegedly matched swabs taken from a 17-year-old rape victim who was dragged through Karrakatta cemetery in 1995, and DNA found under Ms Glennon's fingernails.
Then in December 2016, investigators matched fingerprints taken from a 1988 attempted break-in to Edwards, who was in the database after a 1990 attack at Hollywood Hospital - a crime he later minimised as "just an assault" when he told his second wife about it.
Detectives pounced four days later, testing a Sprite bottle Edwards had discarded, then arrested him at his Kewdale home.
Edwards seemingly presents as a family man, who shared pet dogs and a horse with his first wife.
He then became a stepfather to the daughter of his second wife, whom he met on April Fools' Day in 1997 and wooed with a dozen roses.
When home videos were aired in court, Edwards smiled mildly - a rare show of emotion from him so far in WA's so-called "trial of the century".
Defence counsel Paul Yovich has attempted to poke holes in the prosecution's timeline.
He also suggested some DNA exhibits had been contaminated and fibre evidence may also be tainted.
At the very least, Edwards is a confessed rapist after pleading guilty in October to the Huntingdale and cemetery attacks.
Family of the murdered women have listened intently as they seek justice and some semblance of closure.
Australian Associated Press
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