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Husband of Australian woman missing since 1982 expected to be charged with murder

Almost 40 years after Sydney mother Lynette Dawson disappeared, her husband spent his first night in police custody accused of her murder.

Chris Dawson, a 70-year-old one-time rugby league player, will be flown back to NSW early Thursday to be formally charged.

Fresh statements from at least two witnesses led to Dawson's arrest on the Gold Coast on Wednesday over the suspected murder of his wife in early 1982.

The new evidence helped police "tie pieces of the puzzle together", NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.

Some of the additional material surfaced as a result of The Australian newspaper's investigative podcast, The Teacher's Pet.

It's believed new evidence was provided by Dawson's teenage lover at the time, Joanne Curtis - who moved into the family home in Sydney's northern beaches days after Mrs Dawson disappeared - and an ex-student of the school he once taught in.

Mrs Dawson was 33 when she went missing in January 1982 leaving behind two young daughters.

Her brother, Greg Simms, said he was very emotional when told of Dawson's arrest.

"I'm the happiest man alive today, and if Lynette is up there looking down, she'd be smiling at us," he told News Corp Australia.

Mrs Dawson's niece Renee Simms said the events of the past few days don't seem real yet.

"We've been waiting for 36 years for something like this to happen," she told Network Ten on Wednesday.

Detectives from the NSW homicide squad began reinvestigating her suspected murder in 2015 and sent a brief of evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions in April this year.

"There was additional evidence that was identified and that has seen the DPP make a positive decision in prosecuting an individual for the murder of Lynette Dawson," Mr Fuller said.

"Statements from witnesses helped us tie pieces of the puzzle together."

Dawson, a Newtown rugby league player in the early 1970s, has long been a suspect in the case but denies any involvement in his wife's disappearance.

The former school teacher appeared in Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday where his application for bail was refused.

He will be put on a plane to NSW early on Thursday morning where detectives will begin the lengthy process of charging him with murder before he is brought before a court.

The magistrate had described the police case as "circumstantial" given Mrs Dawson's body has never been found.

But NSW Detective Superintendent Scott Cook insists investigators are confident in the strength of their case.

"There are other examples in policing history and history of the courts where people have been convicted of murder without a body," he told reporters.

Dawson's family said in a statement they had no doubt he'd be found innocent.

"We are disappointed at the decision of the DPP as there is clear and uncontested evidence that Lyn Dawson was alive long after she left Chris and his daughters," brother Peter Dawson said, according to the Seven Network.

Mr Fuller said detectives spoke to Lyn's family on Wednesday and they "were certainly relieved to hear this result".

Relative David Jenkins tweeted: "I'm shaking. There is a long road in front of us in bringing Lyn home, but this is a big step."

Detectives in September dug up the backyard at the Bayview home the couple shared in the early 1980s but did not find her remains or items of interest.

Mr Fuller declared "we certainly won't give up on that search" for Mrs Dawson's remains.