A 62-year-old man from Coen in Far North Queensland was this week charged by police with the murder of a Kowanyama woman.

Ms Bernard – as her family wishes her to be known – was last seen at the Archer River Quarry around 11pm on February 10, 2013 in the company of Thomas Maxwell Byrnes.

At the time of her disappearance Ms Bernard had been making her way home to attend her son’s birthday.

Her family immediately reported her missing.

She had been seen leaving the Exchange Hotel in Coen Byrnes.

However, her disappearance was not viewed as a homicide.

Police have faced intense criticism from Ms Bernard’s family and friends about how the investigation has been handled since she disappeared.

Byrnes had denied any involvement in Ms Bernard’s disappearance but confirmed they had been together on the night she disappeared, according to local media reports of a coronial inquest in Cairns in April 2022.

Last year a $500,000 reward was offered for information about her disappearance.

Byrnes fronted the Cairns magistrates court this week.

Ms Bernard has been remembered by her family as a “cheeky little girl who grew into a proud and loving mother. She loved dance and swim in the freshwater on her country.