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New police angle on chilling cold case

SA Police have shed light on the 1984 disappearance of outgoing teenager Stella Farrugia, saying she may have been murdered.

After vanishing from her home in Adelaide's west 35 years ago, her family received irregular phone calls in which the caller never spoke.

It was initially believed the 18-year-old had "simply taken off", spurred on by the fact she had written to her sister suggesting she would cut off all ties, but SA Police now fear she may have been murdered.

Ms Farrugia, who was raised in Victoria, unexpectedly moved to Queensland in 1983 amid tensions with her family arising from their traditional Maltese origins, which was often in conflict with those of wider Australia.

In Queensland, she got into a relationship and moved to an Adelaide Hills property in 1984.

After that relationship fell apart, she met Wojciech Kubale, who reported her missing in October that year.

Mr Kubale told police he came home to their Henley Beach flat and found her dog, bank books and personal possessions all inside - but no sign of Ms Farrugia.

Whatever answers Mr Kubale may have held died with him in 2010.

"There was a suggested history of domestic violence in connection with both relationships, but there were no reports to police so it is hard to gauge to what extent," Detective Sergeant Cameron Georg said.

Det Sgt Georg said he believed Ms Farrugia was "more than likely" deceased, given the ample opportunity for her to make contact with either police or her family.

"But until such time as you have a body or a confession, there remains that very faint hope that she may be alive."

© AAP 2019